This certainly explains why Casey stopped his daily vlog: CNN today announced that Casey Neistat, Matt Hackett, and the team behind mobile video company, Beme, have joined CNN Worldwide. They together will launch a new media brand dedicated to “timely and topical video content powered by bleeding edge mobile technology.” CNN says they’re still working out all the details, including a name for the new company, but that information should be available soon.
What is CNN doing with Casey Neistat, Matt Hackett and Beme? We’re launching a new media brand – a standalone company, funded by CNN. We’ve engaged Casey Neistat and Matt Hackett, co-founders of Beme, to build it with us. A perfect marriage of storytelling and technology, Casey will provide the editorial vision and Matt will lead digital innovation. What we’re doing is twofold:
Led by Matt Hackett, the development team from Beme will become a nimble technology group. They will build technology to enable the new company and also develop mobile video capabilities for CNN’s portfolio of digital properties.
A wholly unique content creator, Casey Neistat has a proven ability to engage an entire generation in a way that no one else can. As Executive Producer, we’ll pair his editorial vision and voice with mobile video technology and CNN’s global strength and resources to create a new media brand for a new audience.
What is the new media company and target audience? The new company will be devoted to filling the world with excellent, timely and topical video and empowering content creators to use technology to find their voice. It won’t be what most people think of as “news,” but it will be relevant to the daily conversations that dominate our lives. Casey has tapped into a highly engaged audience – they’re curious, hungry and young and they’re eager to learn more about the world. We’ll start there. And then we’ll find ways to connect with millions more. Stay tuned for more.
When will the new company launch? By summer 2017.
Who are the new company’s competitors? There are other brands trying to focus on similar content areas. We admire their business models but not their voice. We believe you can engage audiences through authenticity, curiosity and meaningful conversation rather than cynicism, anger and outrage.
How is this different than Great Big Story? Great Big Story is dedicated to discovering and telling amazing untold stories with no apparent tie to the 24-hour news cycle. While the new venture will not be a traditional news network, it will be purpose-built for engagement around the news. Through voice and technology, it will engage with audiences around timely and topical content.
How many staff are you hiring for the new company? Dozens of producers, builders, developers, designers and content creators of every mold.
So CNN acquired Beme? In simple terms, yes. But the arrangement goes well beyond that. The Beme team is the digital innovation piece of a multiyear development deal that will result in the formation of a new media company bringing together technology and storytelling.
How much did CNN pay for Beme? We’re not disclosing the financial details of the arrangement but the deal was not a simple acquisition. It’s more about “what will be” than “what has been.”
How will this new company/entity fit within CNN? We’re approaching this as a startup. Andrew Morse (EVP U.S. Editorial and GM CNN Digital Worldwide & Co-founder of Great Big Story), Chris Berend (SVP Digital Video and Co-founder of Great Big Story), Casey Neistat and Matt Hackett are the new brand’s founders. And just like Great Big Story, it will operate as a separate, stand-alone business as part of the CNN Digital portfolio.
What happens to Beme? The app will cease to exist but the passion for mobile video will live on. The innovation team will focus all of its attention on launching the new company and building premium and transformative technology-driven experiences for CNN’s portfolio of businesses. Users will be notified today and will have ample time to download their videos.
How many Beme employees will join CNN Digital? All 11 Beme employees will join CNN as a distinct technology group, dedicated to charting the future of CNN through innovative mobile video products–some as stand alones, others as enhancements to the vast array of existing products in the CNN portfolio. We’ll continue to invest and grow the team in the coming months.
Will the Beme team move to the Time Warner Center? No. The artists formerly known as Beme will remain in their existing workspace. That space will also house the new media brand.
Does CNN now own Casey’s channels and accounts? Casey still maintains his own YouTube channel and everything on it. He makes all the editorial calls about his personal channels. CNN respects his raw voice and the authentic relationship he shares with this audience. It will continue to be one of the most compelling offerings on YouTube.
Very interesting. We will share more information as it becomes available.