CNN and BuzzFeed are partnering to create a new YouTube channel called "CNN BuzzFeed" to break original news online. The channel will feature current and archived CNN video and like all BuzzFeed content, is targeted to a younger, social media savvy audience.
CNN BuzzFeed will capitalize on two of the most important attributes of today's online video landscape: short-form and syndication. Last week, data from ad manager FreeWheel showed that "Digital Pure-Play" content providers grew their video views by 47% year-over-year (with 84% of their views coming via syndication to 3rd-party sites), while views from long-form "Linear + Digital" providers (e.g. broadcast and cable networks) decreased by 8%.
CNN BuzzFeed is a perfect example of a digital pure-play. Like virtually all of BuzzFeed's existing YouTube video content, which is under 3 minutes, CNN BuzzFeed will also be short-form (see below, the first video released today, on amazing rescues, is just over 2 minutes). By distributing through YouTube, CNN BuzzFeed benefits from the vast reach of YouTube and also taps into the syndication opportunities of YouTube sharing and embeds, further driving its proliferation to 3rd parties.
Given its short-form nature, CNN BuzzFeed also seems well-positioned for mobile video usage, which viewers are clearly gravitating to. FreeWheel noted last week that 19% of video views in Q1 were off the desktop, up 6x from a year earlier. However, consuming mobile video over carrier networks is expensive, which makes it primarily a short-form medium for now or one consumed at home on WiFi networks.
CNN BuzzFeed looks like a smart move for both partners. CNN further extends its brand to younger online users active on social networks, gaining insights that could inform its other online news activities. And BuzzFeed gets an established news brand and a trove of video to help drive its news credibility. If the videos are done well, and are shared extensively, CNN BuzzFeed videos could become a real success for both partners.