‘SNL’ launches first YouTube channel internationally with ZEFR

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International Web surfers may be seeing more of Chris Farley’s “Saturday Night Live” skits on YouTube.

The long-running sketch comedy series has launched its first official YouTube channel with the help of ZEFR, a Venice, Calif., start-up that makes technology for media companies on the Google-owned Web video site.

The “SNL” channel is available on YouTube to viewers everywhere except in the United States, where Yahoo runs an online video outlet for the show.


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The “SNL” deal is a big get for ZEFR, which has partnered with Lorne Michael’s company Broadway Video Entertainment to eventually deliver 4,500 clips from all 39 seasons, starting with 2,500 videos.

“‘SNL’ is huge and it’s basically built for YouTube,” said ZEFR’s Zach James, who co-founded the company as MovieClips in 2009. “It has the most highly produced, most loved comedic sketches in the world, and when you put that on the biggest video platform in the world, that’s a winning combo.”

To help bring “SNL” to foreign online viewers, ZEFR will manage the show’s YouTube page and place promotions at the end of each clip to direct users to other sketches they might like.

ZEFR, which has raised $31 million in funding, has previously partnered with major Hollywood studios including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment. It says it manages 130 million premium videos on YouTube totaling more than 7 billion views a month.

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ZEFR employs more than 200 people and is headquartered in Venice’s Abbot Kinney neighborhood. It also recently expanded into sports by running a channel of NASCAR clips. “These are the kinds of guys we want to be working with,” James said.

While the new “SNL” YouTube channel isn’t accessible in the show’s home country, James says the series has a wide international draw and that 70% of YouTube’s audience is outside the U.S.

Surely, there’s a foreign audience for the those old “Superfans” sketches.


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