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CNN taps a YouTube star to connect with millennials

The news giant is bringing in social media app Beme and its founders to build a brand new platform.

Beme founder Casey Neistat explains in a video how his app captures authentic 4-second videos of users, free from filters or edits.
YouTube/Screenshot by CNET

CNN announced Monday that it's purchasing social media app Beme for an undisclosed sum and hiring its whole staff to make a "new media company bringing together technology and storytelling."

The goals of this investment are clear: CNN wants to connect with the millennial audience Beme founder Casey Neistat has so effectively engaged on his YouTube channel. Neistat has nearly 6 million subscribers on YouTube, and the Beme app -- which captures and plays users 4-second unfiltered video clips -- has over 1 million downloads. CNN hopes these early signs of success will transition onto a larger stage with proper monetary support.

With the deal, the Beme app will shut down. But CNN says the company will stay intact, and Neistat's YouTube channel will remain entirely his to control.

The new platform itself remains in early stages of development, though CNN confirms it will be video-based. The company and platform are both planned to launch by summer 2017.