CNN has acquired a lukewarm social media app in order to appeal to millennials.
Beme is the brainchild of YouTube vlogger Casey Neistat. Neistat launched the app with the intent of making it a beacon of ‘realness’, free from the fakery of social media. This is a rather interesting focus for an app made by a social media celebrity. Beme lets users post 8 second videos without the chance to review or edit them. When Beme first launched, things looked good, with $2.6 million raised in seed money and over a million users in the first week. From there, things cooled off a lot. The beta version was buggy and its growth was sluggish.
“At the end of , we had a harsh realization that we were not such a shining star and were much more aligned with other social media launches,” said Neistat in an interview with Mashable. “Downloads slowed to a few thousand a day from a much more robust number and active engagement became a lot less than what it was.” Eventually, even Neistat himself stopped talking about it, leading some of his fans to wonder whether he was even involved with it anymore. It was destined to be put down.
It’s slightly confused then, to hear that Beme has just been acquired by CNN. As part of the deal, the app itself will shut down, and Neistat, co-founder Matt Hackett, and the app’s team of 12 will become employees for CNN. They will be responsible for creating “a new media brand dedicated to timely and topical video content powered by bleeding edge mobile technology.” What this actually translates to is an attempt to reach a younger audience: “Going after millennials [was a] huge part of it,” said Matt Dornic, vice president of communications at CNN. “We’re realistic in knowing we have to diversify. Casey and Matt reach an audience we don’t.”
Isn’t that so very typical of a mainstream media outlet like CNN? In order to appeal to younger people, they acquired a failing social media platform. As for what the new media platform will actually do? That’s still quite vague. Neistat’s new media brand hasn’t even received a name yet.
source: NY Times