CNN Launches ‘Great Big Story’ Streaming-Video Hub To Battle Vice and BuzzFeed

There’s a new streaming-video storyteller in town, but this one isn’t like the others. For one thing, it claims it won’t distribute listicles or videos about cute cats. And its money comes from CNN.

CNN said Tuesday it had funded the launch of Great Big Story, billed as a “socially distributed video network” that will make available newsy video stories for a generation that seems more eager to get information streamed to mobile devices than it is from the traditional TV set.  Great Big Story will distribute its content via a web  site and apps for both iOS and Android devices.  But its tales will also show up on Facebook, YouTube, Apple News, Snapchat and more as November gets underway. The start-up, which is not formally part of CNN, will also tap connected TV’s through Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, and Chromecast, among others.

CNN’s investment, said to be “multi-year,” comes as younger consumers are expanding their reliance on social networks and streaming video, often getting their first bursts of news and headlines from media vehicles like Facebook and Twitter. Vice, BuzzFeed and Vox have proven adept at “breaking” stories and items through these venues, leaving more traditional players with an emerging need to follow suit.

The new outlet intends to distribute three to five videos of varying lengths each day, and vowed to release a short film in November. The employee base is said to consist of more than 30 people from outlets including BuzzFeed, Vox Vice, MTV, ABC, NowThis, Amazon and Yahoo.  Great Big Story also has an alliance with Creative Artists Agency and will rely upon a network of experts on topic ranging from outer space to philanthropy.

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Revenue will come from so-called “branded content” videos that are distributed along with the video stories. Charter sponsors include the snack-maker Kind and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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