CNN Digital has teamed up with mobile video company Beme co-founders Casey Neistat and Matt Hackett to launch a new media brand dedicated to topical video content for mobile.
The new brand, which will be launched by summer 2017, will feature topical videos that won’t be what most people consider “news”, but aim to be relevant to daily conversations around the news with an authentic, curious and meaningful tone.
Neistat will provide the editorial vision and voice, tapping into a curious young demographic, while Hackett will lead digital innovation with the Beme development team, enabling the new company and developing mobile video capabilities for CNN’s portfolio of digital properties.
Technically an acquisition for an undisclosed amount, the Beme app will cease to exist with all 11 employees joining CNN as a distinct technology group, remaining in their existing work space. The new brand will also hire dozens of producers, builders, developers, designers and content creators.
The new brand will be approached as a start-up with Great Big Story co-founders Andrew Morse and Chris Berend acting with Neistat and Hackett are the new brand’s founders. Just like distributed storytelling network Great Big Story, which launched a year ago, it will operate as a separate, stand-alone business as part of the CNN Digital portfolio.
Morse, who also acts as executive vice president of CNN US and general manager of CNN Digital Worldwide, commented that CNN Digital is currently reaching more people in more places than it ever has before.
“The digital landscape continues to change, and we must continue to evolve as well, to maintain our position as the worldwide leader in mobile and video news and information,” he added.
Neistat, whose YouTube channel has nearly six million subscribers, will maintain his own YouTube channel. Although this isn’t a TV talent deal, CNN is said to be looking into possible ways to connect Neistat and its media venture with new audiences.
“As we launch this new media brand, it’s essential for it to be powered by truly innovative technology,” continued Morse. “That’s where Beme comes in. We’ll marry Casey’s voice with a nimble technology group led by [Hackett].
“The Beme engineering team will join Matt in building mobile video products to power our new company, and they will work closely with CNN and Turner’s technology teams to supercharge the mobile video experience across all of our digital properties.”