CNN’s eight-figure investment in viral media company BuzzFeed highlights the shifting tide in traditional media. The investment will support the creation of a joint YouTube channel and a social video studio in Los Angeles. With YouTube moving further into original content, this relationship highlights the viewing preferences of online consumers. Rather than use platforms like YouTube to consume traditional news media, viewers are interested in exploring new content paradigms.


BuzzFeed is built for the internet audience. The media entity is built on snackable content that lives at the intersection of news and pop culture. Its sarcastic lists and irreverent headlines speak to today’s connected generation. Gone are topics that can be perceived as too serious, replaced by witty, intelligent takes on topical subject matter. 

It’s not that BuzzFeed doesn’t report on the news. It most certainly does, including a partnership with The New York Times. BuzzFeed just does so in a way that is a departure from traditional TV news. It speaks to a generation on the move, as opposed to one who used to set their clocks to the reports of Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw. 
I imagine that the BuzzFeed/CNN tie up will create a channel in a similar vein to NowThis News, the venture-funded digital video startup that is a mashup of The Onion, The Daily Show, and Nightly News. 
YouTube experimented with bringing traditional media outlets to its premium content platform, even investing $2 million in a Wall Street Journal channel. The video content mirrored the voice of Wall Street’s print edition and failed to generate a sizable audience.
As Buzzfeed is riding high from this new infusion of capital, viewers will ultimately decide if they want to consume online news on YouTube with a side of self-referential wit and humor. If successful, the Buzzfeed/CNN partnership will fuel similar mergers going forward.