CNN Acquires Video-Sharing App Startup Beme, Co-founded by Popular YouTuber Casey Neistat

NEIL RASMUS/BFA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
NEIL RASMUS/BFA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

CNN has acquired video-sharing app startup Beme, co-founded by popular YouTube creator Casey Neistat and Matt Hackett, and will invest in the team to launch a new standalone media brand.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CNN said the new venture that it’s forming out of the acquisition — aimed at reaching millennial viewers with the street cred of Neistat’s reporting and commentary — will launch in the summer of 2017. All 11 of Beme’s employees will join CNN; the cable news network will be shutting down Beme, which had garnered more than 1 million downloads.

New York-based filmmaker Neistat, who has more than 5.8 million subscribers on YouTube, announced earlier this month on his channel that he would be suspending his personal vlog to focus on new projects, one of which turns out is the pact with CNN. His daily vlog dispatches cover current political and news events as well as action sequences like his viral “Snowboarding With the NYPD” video last winter.

Led by Hackett, formerly VP of engineering at Yahoo’s Tumblr, Beme’s development team will “build technology to enable the new company and also develop mobile video capabilities for CNN’s portfolio of digital properties,” according to the Turner-owned cable news network.

Neistat, 35, will lead the new venture’s “editorial vision” as executive producer. CNN said it will employ its global resources to launch the new media brand, and plans to hire dozens of producers, builders, developers, designers and content creators for the new company.

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SOURCE: Variety, Todd Spangler