On May 4th, Turner hosted a NewFronts presentation for its CNN, Bleacher Report, and Great Big Story brands, and while the event was light on breaking news, it did give us a chance to check in with Casey Neistat. Neistat, as you may know, is a YouTube star who has been working with CNN since last November to build an as-of-yet untitled media company. In a conversation with CNN President Jeff Zucker, Neistat offered up a few more hints about the brand he plans to deliver.
First and foremost, Neistat noted that his forthcoming company — which is expected to launch at some point over the summer — is “definitely not a traditional newscast.” “I’m not a journalist,” Neistat said. “A lot of people who are helping to put together what the media is going to look like are not journalists by design. Instead they’re individuals who really understand how to communicate with an audience.”
After inking his deal with CNN, Neistat met some criticism online, particularly from Gizmodo, which implied the cable news network is “leveraging [Neistat’s] minor cult of online personality.” In his NewFronts chat, however, Neistat rejected the idea that his upcoming collaboration with CNN would only be watched by his existing fans. “I think that from afar people are going to say this is the new thing of young people, but this is for everyone,” Neistat said. “I love to think that we go beyond the audience that I’ve already built my brand on.”
Beyond touting its partnership with Neistat, Turner also used its NewFronts presentation to share a few updates about Great Big Story, which continues to grow 18 months after it first launched as a means for CNN to reach millennials. Its eclectic slate of videos is now available through Apple News, and in the coming months, it will launch Great Big Cuentos, a brand aimed at Hispanic-American viewers. “We need to help other people understand that this is not just a social video company,” CNN SVP of digital video Chris Berend told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re a global media brand.”