CNN Takes Aim at BuzzFeed Video with Great Big Story

By Evan DeSimone

In the conversation about streaming video, it’s not often that legacy linear brands are mentioned in the same breath as new media upstarts like Buzzfeed and Vice, but media convergence makes for strange bed fellows. CNN, the original 24-hour news network, has announced the launch of a streaming video hub that will channel the storytelling style, if not the listicle heavy content, of emerging video brands like BuzzFeed.

Dubbed “Great Big Story,” it is being billed as a socially distributed news network that will leverage the CNN’s news gathering apparatus to create quick, shareable news videos designed for digital and mobile platforms instead of linear television. The service will have its own website through which to deliver content but will also be available in app form on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as AppleTV, Roku, Amazon and other connected television devices. Stories will also be disseminated through purely social means like Facebook and Snapchat in an effort to connect with a millennial generation that is perceived as both news hungry and disconnected from traditional broadcast news.

The new outlet will distribute 3–5 short form videos per day covering trending news topics as well as broader themes in global news. Much like BuzzFeed, Vice,and other web outlets, “Great Big Story” will generate revenue through the creation of branded content. While CNN leads funding for the project the servie is also backed by food brand Kind and Hewlett-Packard Enterprises.

If the idea of packaging the news in engaging, shareable, short-form, clips sounds familiar, that could be because it’s been done before. Newsy, which produces bite-sized news video content covering trending topics recently took a step toward the linear world through a distribution pact with American broadcaster Raycom Media.

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