BBTV Vancouver: The Castle that Content Built

Every third Youtube video that you watch is associated with BBTV… mic drop. 

Tens of thousands of content creators, 34 billion monthly impressions, 285 million unique viewers, 400 (and growing) employees, and 23 internal departments; welcome to BroadbandTV aka BBTV.

Shahrzad Rafati is BBTV’s Iranian-born founder who pioneered the business after seeing the distinct difference in access to content between her birthplace and her Canadian home of Vancouver.

Since launching in 2005 BBTV has been a leader in defining and advancing the digital video space.  Today, BBTV is the third largest video property in the world behind Facebook and Google. 

CEO Rafati was named to Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, and last month took home the Entrepreneur of the Year award honours at the 7th Annual Canadian Innovation Awards.

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Since 2005, BBTV has empowered a new generation of storytellers and transformed entertainment in the way it is produced and consumed. YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, HuffPost, and the NBA are all BBTV partners. And it doesn’t end there, BBTV’s in-house brands have reputations of their own and include HooplaKidz, Opposition, WIMSIC, TGN, Outspeak, and NBA Playmakers.

With all these content producers working alongside each other, BBTV has built one of the strongest ecosystems in digital video worldwide. Last year total annual viewership for BBTV increased 66%, a milestone achievement for any team.

In 2017, the team moved into a new space, created in close collaboration with 3×9 Planning & Design, it’s an office worth talking, nay vlogging, about.


BBTV is a community of creativity; a network of partnerships, digital talent, content, and ideas. It’s a theme that inspires much of the décor, like the Binary Wall, which is a translation of the company’s name in binary code and constructed as a spatial pattern into a wall relief.

The inspiration for it comes from Rafati, “Behind every layer of the design is a code – a piece of the company’s DNA – it’s represented in the walls and art around the office and symbolizes our core values: Care, Drive, Collaboration, and Creativity.”

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Their workspaces are filled with custom-made hexagon crystalline lighting structures that are intended to inspire innovative and original thinking.

The BBTV team enjoys a variety of collaborative workstations, break out spaces, lounges and phone booths to ensure there is a space available for the task at hand.

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Content is king – this notion goes undisputed at BBTV, and they their spaces match that sentiment, including a 50-seat theatre built into the center of the office used for work and for play.

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We all try to eat healthy but at BBTV, they take it up a notch. Their in-office café is filled with “Brain Food,” which is a range of nourishment that follows a holistic approach and prioritizes wellness over diet. Although that doesn’t mean they don’t offer the usual goodies.

Coffee, tea, and healthy snacks, such as oatmeal, nuts, and vegetables, can be found in the kitchen on a daily basis. And since it’s near impossible to celebrate TGIF without a little sugar, BBTV-ers can always count on ending the week with donuts and bagels from Rosemary Rocksalt.

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Those who live by the words, “But first, coffee,” can feel at home here. BBTV has an in-house automated barista and a number of organic roast options that are refilled and refreshed daily.

Because the office is located in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour district, lunch and after-work places are abundant. Well within walking distance are a Starbucks, JJ Bean, Cactus Club, and Robson Street.


“You become what you believe” has been at the end of Rafati’s email signature since she started the business, and that sentiment echoes throughout their office and the company values.

Internally, that belief takes shape in their commitment to maintaining equal pay and gender balance, as well as maternity and paternity programs. BBTV-ers are also entitled to four weeks’ vacation, extended health benefits, free gym passes, and corporate discounts at Rogers, Mobi, Steve Nash Gyms, Oxygen, Sparkling Hill Resort, and Perkopolis.

Once a year, employees can take a paid day off to volunteer for a charity, community event, or initiative they’re passionate about. In the past, BBTV-ers have supported the Malala Fund, Kiva, Happy Herd, Dress for Success, and the Children’s Wish Foundation.

A grand piano sits in the lobby, free to play, free to experiment, and free to inspire. It represents the company’s roots in music as well as their commitment to creativity, skill, knowledge, and art.

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Custom murals and imagery featuring the BBTV brands.

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Rafati started with a few plants in her office and now it’s grown to 400. In the same week BBTV moved into their new space, the company turned 11 years old. If you add the total sum of the translation of BBTV11 as an ASCII code, you get the number 400, and that is no coincidence.

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Upon entry into the main floor workspace, nine large format monitors tethered together to create an interactive “Wall of Fame,” which displays content from the thousands of BBTV partnerships and talent. On the right is a window into one of the creator studios which is almost always occupied by a content creator.

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In the games room, an impressive lineup of YouTube subscriber milestone play buttons awarded to the BBTV’s various channels.

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Popular areas in the office to hang out and work include The Den, The Lounge, a fully-stocked games room, the theatre an in-house studio, and around the grand piano in the foyer.

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The Lounge is an environment filled with music – a place for thinking out loud and relaxing. Situated slightly removed from the central offices, it features Canadian artist Emily Filler, whose paintings are showcased here.

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Extracurricular activities and clubs are the norm at BBTV. Collective interests include marathon running, theatre, ping pong, and community service with local organizations like the BC Children’s Hospital.

Retreats, social outings, and parties are all organized by a committee that goes by the name of E.P.I.C. and whose mandate is to foster ideation and collaboration within the organization. They put together several annual events that are centered around developing ideas and solutions for business challenges as well as team building and engagement.

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