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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

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YoY Watch Time Growth


YoY Live Watch Time Growth

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YoY Total Views Growth

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YoY No. of Videos Published Growth


YoY Average View Duration Growth

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Total Channel Revenue YoY Growth

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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

Format: Live

Length: 60 min

Frequency: 6x per week


2.  Breaking News Analysis

Format: Live

Length: 60 min

Frequency: Ad hoc


3. Short Documentaries

Format: VOD

Length: 40-60 min

Frequency: 1x per month


4. Interviews

Format: VOD

Length: varies

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.

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