CNN is betting that YouTube star Casey Neistat, who has 5.8 million followers, can help the company package news in a way that appeals to younger audiences.
On Monday, CNN announced that it had bought Neistat's social-sharing app Beme for an undisclosed amount, and that all Beme's employees would be joining CNN. CNN will shut down Beme, and Neistat will get to work building a new startup inside CNN.
Neistat's new startup will try to tackle news, particularly through mobile video, but won't be a traditional news network. “A huge part of my particular audience sees news and media as largely broken,” Neistat told The New York Times . “My dad sees it as the word of God, but I think the young people definitely do not.”
"It won’t be what most people think of as 'news,' but it will be relevant to the daily conversations that dominate our lives," CNN said in a statement.
The new venture will launch by the summer of 2017, and CNN is hiring "dozens of producers, builders, developers, designers and content creators of every mold."
While Neistat's new startup will exist inside CNN, he will be given "full creative control" to build something different.
“Casey has tapped into nearly six million really powerful viewers, most of which do not tune in to CNN,” Andrew Morse, CNN's digital boss, told The New York Times . “To build this audience authentically, we believe we need to build something new.”