CNN announced on Monday that it was acquiring Beme, a social video platform. The platform will shut down on January 31, 2017, as the employees shift their attention to a new venture.
In the vein of Great Big Story, CNN is launching and funding a separate business within CNN Digital. The outlet will produce mobile videos and work on mobile video infrastructure for CNN.
While Great Big Story focuses on short, shareable content that has no relation to the news, the as-of-yet-unnamed venture does plan on remaining tethered to the news cycle.
All of the outfit’s eleven employees, including YouTuber Casey Neistat, will continue with the new group. Matt Beckett will lead the group while Neistat will serve as executive producer. The deal does not include Neistat’s personal YouTube channels and it is not a TV deal, although CNN does say appearances are possible. CNN also said that it will be hiring more people for the new outlet.
Beme is a platform where users record video and it is then immediately uploaded, meaning users do not have the ability to edit their videos. The new venture will continue that element with allowing content to be crowdsourced from users. CNN says that while it “will not be a traditional news network, it will be purpose-built for engagement around the news.”
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker has made digital a key element of CNN and has poured millions into ramping up CNN’s digital output. The results have been successful with CNN having a top news and political news website. This effort is part of CNN’s efforts to reach more millennial who consume news differently than the prior generations. CNN is already successful with millennial audiences as a ComScore US MultiPlatform study from June showed the news organization reaching 70% of millennials.