YouTube star Casey Neistat parts ways with Beme


YouTube star Casey Neistat announced he is leaving the video-sharing startup co-founder he and co-founder Matt Hackett sold to CNN a little over a year ago for $25 million.

Fourteen months after Casey Neistat retired from daily YouTube vlogging and joined CNN to start a media company aimed at a younger crowd, the news network has ended the experiment.

Casey Neistat's Beme was meant to be CNN's siren call to Millennials: now, it's shutting down, and the YouTuber is going it alone. When he was working with CNN to get the Beme media team up and running past year, Neistat said he was required to take on several roles at once, such as creative lead and manager of the team. Neistat will go back to producing and releasing his own videos on his YouTube channel. "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 said. I think that's what is missing, not just from CNN, but all the legacy TV news broadcasters who think it's enough to take a video report and put it on a platform where young people go. Many were surprised when CNN announced that it would acquire the company and give it the mandate to develop innovative news formats. In June, at the Cannes advertising festival, Zucker said that Beme was "weeks away" from a four-day-a-week news show, but he acknowledged the development had been slow going. With CNN's purchase, Beme was swept up under the cable news organization's umbrella. "He does great work, he has a big following, and he's able to reach an audience CNN never could". CNN said that it would seek to find different positions across the company for almost everyone on Beme's 22-member team, but that some people would lose their jobs.

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In his own post on Medium, Hackett says the Beme team made two products, including Panels, an app for Android and iOS that allowed users to upload video opinions about news topics.

It certainly appealed to CNN, anyway, which coughed up a deal worth what sources claim was more than $20m to buy Beme and bring Neistat onboard.

Neistat launched the original Beme in the summer of 2015, and the app quickly exploded thanks in large part to his loyal online following.