After recently announcing the discontinuation of his daily vlog, YouTube star Casey Neistat has partnered with CNN for a new media brand. Neistat's Beme app has in turn been acquired by CNN, along with its 11-person team. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal is worth around $25 million USD.
CNN will be terminating Beme and allowing Neistat to develop a new project designed to attract his online following. The New York Times reports that Casey will have complete creative control while building a separate company that lets the audience share “timely and topical videos” and start conversations around current events.
“Casey has tapped into nearly six million really powerful viewers, most of which do not tune in to CNN,” Andrew Morse, global head of CNN Digital, revealed to the Times. “To build this audience authentically, we believe we need to build something new.”
Neistat's media project is scheduled to launch in summer 2017, operating as a standalone extension of CNN, attempting to build engagement around news topics.
When speaking with Verge, Neistat disclosed: “It’s going to be very different from Beme and bigger than a single product. There is a tremendous distrust between the audience that watches my content online and the information that is put out by traditional media. Our broad ambition is to figure out a way with tech and media to bridge the gigantic divide.”
The overall goal of the brand is to build an audience of their own, beginning with individuals who have closely followed Casey's impactful YouTube channel. Said YouTube channel will not be a part of CNN, however, so Neistat will be free to continue posting personal clips as he sees fit.