CNN Acquires Casey Neistat’s Video Beme App
CNN has acquired Beme, the social app co-founded by YouTuber Casey Neistat. As part of the deal, Casey will lead the Beme team as a new standalone media sub-brand operating under CNN’s umbrella as executive producer, and all 11 members of the Beme team will join the ranks of the news network, according to Variety.
While the deal will bring the app’s video technology to CNN, it will also allow the news company to tap into Casey’s large, young digital audience. The deal is valued at about $25 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
New York-based filmmaker Casey, 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. While the app only received around 1.2 million downloads, the deal mostly seems to be a way for CNN to bring Neistat aboard, a successful YouTube personality who’s managed to cultivate a desirable millennial viewership.
Neistat discussed Beme’s founding vision and financial state on state at Disrupt New York 2016, where he noted that he didn’t actually pay himself a salary as a way of mitigating burn rate for the startup.
Beme started out as a Snapchat competitor with a unique hook: Instead of holding your phone up to take videos, you just need it to your chest. The app would then shoot a four-second video clip and upload it to your followers, without any fiddling on your part. It was an attempt to make video sharing even easier than Snapchat and more intimate.