Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
BuzzFeed is the 57th-most trafficked site in the United States (according to Alexa), and the company’s flagship YouTube channel BuzzFeed Video is beginning to thrive as well. Only 15 months after it debuted, the channel passed one million subscribers and was the 44th Most Viewed YouTube Channel in the World in November 2013 with over 59 million views.
We spoke to Adam Boorstin, Director of Video Operations and Partnerships at BuzzFeed, about the great success the BuzzFeed Video team has seen over the past year and change.
Tubefilter: What do you have to say to your one million+ YouTube subscribers?
BuzzFeed: We think you’re awesome! Thanks so much for subscribing. We read your comments and try to incorporate all your feedback, so please keep letting us know what you like and what you absolutely hate so we can make the best content possible. We love how engaged you are, and it’s helping us get even better.
TF: The BuzzFeed Video channel has only been actively publishing content for 15 months. To what factors do you attribute its rapid growth?
BF: Our amazing team of hard-working video producers! Also, our methodology for experimentation with various formats. We try to stay flexible with our content so we can pivot based on what people like watching. That, and our two very own YouTube celebrities: Henry “Badass” Goldman and Andrew “Creepy Guy” Ilnyckyj. If you don’t know them, Google their videos!
TF:How much content on the YouTube channel is inspired by posts on the main website and how much is original to the channel itself?
BF: Our video team in LA is always bouncing ideas around with the editorial teams in NYC, and naturally some content performs better in video form than others. There’s no set quota for videos based on BuzzFeed posts. It’s all about finding content that can be brought to life in video form.
For example, our Senior Producer Dee Robertson converted a BuzzFeed photo post titled “23 Signs you’ve lived in NYC too long” into a video that captures the sights and sounds that make New York such a chaotic, ridiculous and utterly amazing city.
TF: Would you say BuzzFeed Video’s mission varies in any way from the mission of the main BuzzFeed site
BF: Absolutely not! We’re the same company and both share the goal of creating great, shareable content that spreads across the web.
As I mentioned, our video team frequently collaborates with BuzzFeed editors in NYC to come up with incredible ideas. For example, a member of the New York editorial team helped suggest the idea for our video “Drunk vs. Stoned,” which was then produced by our Senior Producer Andrew Gauthier in LA. The resulting video got 3.7 million views and was shared 35,000 times on Facebook.
TF: How has Zefrank‘s presence helped improve BuzzFeed content on YouTube?
BF: As the EVP of Video at BuzzFeed, Ze has spread his social video methodology and guided us from ~5 million views in September 2012 (when we officially opened) to over 100 million views across our channels last month (November 2013). As far as the production process goes, Ze is relatively hands off. He doesn’t want the videos to be in his voice, and he encourages producers to bring their own bizarre and unique perspective to the content they create. I think this unchecked editorial freedom helps our producers generate content that really feels unexpected.
TF: What should we expect from BuzzFeed Video over the next couple of months? Any exciting plans?
BF: We’re full of exciting plans! We’re working on new formats and characters that we’re psyched about, but alas I can’t reveal too much. Please be sure to watch our BuzzFacts series on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well as our other channels BuzzFeedYellow, ZeFrank1 and BuzzFeed Pop!