YouTube star Casey Neistat’s video company Beme, is officially shutting down. After CNN purchased the company for $25 million in November 2016, both Neistat and Beme co-founder Matt Hackett are leaving.
Bringing Neistat to CNN in the first place was supposed to help attract a younger audience. While in the process, CNN had also acquired the Beme mobile app — which was an interactive video service available for both iOS and Android that allowed users to share short clips.
But after teaming up with CNN, Hackett took to a blog post to explain that the Beme app was shutting down as of January 31, 2017 — it was removed from both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Those who were already on the platform were able to download their archive of content over the two months that followed.
Even with the acquisition, Neistat was reportedly still supposed to have full creative control over the brand in order to build upon Beme’s existing format. But he was unable to figure out a workable strategy that would allow for “Beme News” to become a core part of CNN’s digital business.
By making the move to CNN, Neistat quit his job producing YouTube videos along with short-form videos — which also meant leaving behind the 5.8 million subscribers he managed to accumulate. His content — which garnered millions of views — mainly consisted of clips from his daily life, time on the road, and tech reviews.
But due to creative differences and slow progress, Neistat decided to go back to where he started — YouTube. He began distancing himself from the company and producing videos for his personal channel again. He also took to his channel to address the news in a video, where he explains the departure.
“I couldn’t find answers. I would sort of disappear and I would hide, and I would make YouTube videos for my channel because at least I would be able yield something,” Neistat told Buzzfeed News.
The Beme News YouTube channel will still live on under CNN, which has more than 200,000 subscribers and a small library of videos. CNN said it has plans to restructure Beme’s 22-member team, but that it will involve some layoffs.
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