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ABC News Pacts With Digital Startup ATTN: for Video Co-Production Deal

ABC News is teaming with digital-media startup ATTN: in a deal to co-produce at least 10 original video segments within the next six months. It’s a familiar-looking tie-up between traditional and new media players, which the broadcast news org hopes will broaden its reach among millennials.

The videos generated under the partnership will be designed for distribution exclusively on each company’s digital platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. ATTN:, founded in 2014, specializes in issue-driven, short-form original video news content specifically for social media.

The companies said the made-for-digital video segments will be produced using ABC News footage and materials, including from “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir” and “Nightline” broadcasts. The co-productions will include interviews, features and investigative stories incorporating ABC News’ roster of anchors and correspondents. In addition, under the agreement Matthew Segal, ATTN:’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, will join ABC News as a contributor.

“Partnering with ATTN: allows us to experiment even further with new formats,” Colby Smith, VP of ABC News Digital, said in a statement. “We will take compelling stories and interviews and craft them in a way that feels organic to our digital platforms.”

It’s not certain how big an impact the ABC News-ATTN: partnership will have, in terms of viewers or ad dollars. In any event, it’s part of a larger trend of traditional mediacos trying to put down deeper digital-first roots. In the news category, CNN plans to launch a daily news show from popular YouTuber Casey Neistat, whose video-sharing app startup Beme it acquired last fall. NBC News last month launched an in-house social-video unit called Left Field. Meanwhile, HBO has a deal with Vice Media for a nightly news program.

ABC News is not making an investment in ATTN: under the agreement. The two companies will split revenue generated from the productions, from ads sold on their respective platforms; for example, ATTN: is part of Facebook’s midroll ad program.

“This came together because we were very interested in working with a legacy media company with a tremendous level of resources, and the journalistic capacities of a broadcast network,” Segal said. ATTN: reaches an audience of about 1 million people daily, but “one place we haven’t honed yet is reaching television.” While the segments will be designed for internet distribution, they could also appear in ABC News’ TV broadcasts.

The segments will range from short form (1-5 minutes) to “premium midform” (5-10 minutes) formats, according to Segal. The first video under the pact is expected to debut in the next six weeks. The deal between ATTN: and ABC News is not exclusive, but it’s the first broadcast network company ATTN: has formed a partnership with.

ABC News says it generates almost 1 billion video views monthly and has doubled its video views year over year, while ATTN: pulls in around 500 million across all platforms.

Los Angeles-based ATTN: — pronounced “attention” — raised $4.1 million in Series A funding in December 2014, followed by a $20 million Series B in February 2016. Investors include Ryan Seacrest, Evolution Media Capital, Main Street Advisors, Apollo Global Management co-founder Marc Rowan, and ELY Capital managing partner Hope Taitz.

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