CNN gets into streaming with new socially distributed network, Great Big Story

Major players in the streaming-video game like Buzzfeed and Vice have a new competitor ready to vie for feed space: Great Big Story launched Tuesday with backing from CNN and its parent company, Turner Broadcasting. The video network is calling for viewers to “feed your feed with the most curious and compelling stories being told.”

Great Big Story’s, well … storytellers will travel the world and share their tales on its website and “everywhere else you watch video.” Initially, content will be available for viewing on Android or iOS devices and Facebook, but by November, it will be distributed via YouTube as well. CNN refers to GBS as a “socially distributed video network,” so it’s fitting that viewers will also soon be able to catch its videos on Apple News, SnapChat, various digital media players, and more. Revenue will come through branded content.

We can expect to see topics ranging from “cosmos to cosplay and pizza to our very planet itself,” according to GBS; the plan is for content to be extremely shareable and gain traction on feeds across the Internet. GBS’ audience is specifically geared toward “urban-located, globally curious 25- to 35-year-olds,” reports Fast Company. In fact, CNN sees GBS as a way to fill the void between Vice and Buzzfeed. “One of those is very shouty. The other is cotton candy,” said Chris Berend, CNN’s vice president for video development and the head of its digital studios.

CNN is said to have made a “multi-year” investment, according to Variety, in response to consumers increasingly receiving breaking news through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly, the team behind the network is experienced in the emerging field, reportedly coming from outlets such as BuzzFeed, Vox, MTV, Vice, Yahoo, and more. GBS plans to distribute three to five videos a day for viewers to enjoy, ranging in length. A short film will also be released in November.

Although younger generations are consuming more and more video content on their phones and often forgoing TV completely, viewers will still be able to watch GBS videos on televisions, provided they use Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and other digital media players, starting in early 2016.

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