So it was just over a week ago that Casey Neistat created a farewell vlog on YouTube, and there was a collective mourning by many in the creative community who wondered where, when, and how his shoes might be filled. The move seemed to come out of nowhere and was, perhaps, a perplexing move. After all, in a time where everyone is flexing on street corners for followings, Casey had a billion YouTube views and a hearty following of 5 million. Those are numbers you can’t buy.
And then he walked away from it. It sort of defied conventional wisdom even though we knew he wouldn’t be throwing in the towel, but again, why?
Well, while it’s hard to give a definitive reason, we now have what seems like one. He’s not gone, but moving laterally, and perhaps on and up. CNN announced earlier that they have acquired Beme, the video social media app built by Neistat and Mike Hackett (formerly of Tumblr), and Beme’s 12 employees, including Neistat, will join CNN as part of the agreement – a deal the WSJ values at $25 million. Hackett will lead the development of the tech side and Casey will head the editorial side, sensibly.
In the process though, Beme has been killed, and in its place (sort of), CNN is launching a new media brand with a new editorial vision with the Beme crew at the helm:
The new company will be devoted to filling the world with excellent, timely and topical video and empowering content creators to use technology to find their voice. It won’t be what most people think of as ‘news,’ but it will be relevant to the daily conversations that dominate our lives. – CNN
CNN has also stated this company will be a standalone that operates under the umbrella, which makes sense given CNN has stated the group will have significant autonomy and authority over the content, and CNN has repeatedly associated what Neistat brings with the word ‘authentic’, which suggests the more raw nature of what Neistat is known for will be largely kept. We wait to see.
I think this is really just the way things will be going, and I commend CNN’s efforts to become more relevant with a generation that doesn’t choose to get its news at specified times each day from specified channels. In fact, I think this is something very important for creatives to follow, to get a sense of where and how big media is evolving, and how much importance there is in video, and how critical it is to appeal to those who are guiding the tech or at least consuming media with it.
You can read some of Mike Hackett’s musings for an insider’s perspective here on Medium. Note: he doesn’t wax romantic about moving on.
Via: The New York Times