Cüneyt Özdemir on YouTube
Cüneyt Özdemir is one of the most famous TV journalists with 30 years of experience on CNN and 7M followers on Twitter.
Özdemir started his journalism career at “32nd Day” International Affairs Program which was produced and presented by prominent Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand. In 1996, Özdemir became an international war correspondent where he has reported on major political crisis sites at many of the world's hotspots including the Lebanese-Israeli border, Iraq and Afghanistan. He covered numerous special stories from war zones.
Cüneyt opened his YouTube channel in 2010.
Cüneyt Özdemir's YouTube channel shows that Millennials and Centennials are not apolitical and disengaged - they just need a different narrative.
Growing Made-for-YouTube original content
With the rise of social media, Cüneyt and his team initially started repurposing TV content to platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. YouTube was only another distribution channel but when opportunities for free speech lessened in Turkey, they started publishing original Made-for-YouTube content. His original pieces quickly became more popular than the repurposed TV content, which was a signal for them to start producing more for YouTube.
Leveraging existing social media presence
Cüneyt used his existing social media following - in particular, his 7M followers on Twitter - to push initial growth of his YouTube channel. Today, he uses various social media platforms including TikTok and Clubhouse to promote his content and raise awareness on the “Cüneyt Özdemir” brand.
YouTube Cüneyt is diametrically different from CNN Cüneyt, and that resonated exceptionally well with the targeted audience.
Exponential growth of watch time in the last three years
YoY Growth Stats 2020
YoY Watch Time Growth
YoY Live Watch Time Growth
YoY Total Views Growth
YoY No. of Videos Published Growth
YoY Average View Duration Growth
Total Channel Revenue YoY Growth
Total Channel Subscribers
"Telling stories through your own independent medium means Freedom. We own the channel and we are our own bosses. The first and the last word belongs to me and my team." - Cüneyt Özdemir
Cüneyt’s content strategy focuses on original Made-for-YouTube formats only
1. Daily Political Commentary
Length: 60 min
Frequency: 6x per week
2. Breaking News Analysis
Length: 60 min
Frequency: Ad hoc
3. Short Documentaries
Length: 40-60 min
Frequency: 1x per month
Frequency: 1x per month
Content is tailored to a young, international and interactive audience
In 2020, more than 60% of the channel’s viewers were between age 18 and 34. Video formats and the way the storytelling is delivered are adapted to reflect and better target this demographic
The average view duration was up 75% YoY in 2020 and the channel surpassed 1M subscribers.
Viewers’ comments are monitored closely and Cüneyt makes sure to reply and engage during live streams.
Community Tab is also leveraged for announcements, reminders, polls and cross-platform promotions.
While the majority of viewers are in Turkey, Cüneyt’s channel is also viewed in several other countries.
He covers an incredibly rich and wide range of topics, and many international collaborators were invited to his live streams in 2020, giving a voice to the Turkish diaspora on YouTube.
Learnings and recommendations for other journalists
Involve real experts where possible
Invite experts to interview and speak to, especially during live streams.
Bring an objective point of view to the most polarized topics
Don’t be afraid of internet trolls or negative comments, rather, spend your time analyzing the constructive dynamics of social media.
Understand how the platform you are using works
Spend some time understanding social media dynamics and watching YouTube content to familiarize yourself with formats and tone.
Be creative, brave and disruptive
Try to always look to do more: using new features and functionalities, trying new formats, or bringing in new talent.