BuzzFeed that he could not turn his video sharing application into a successful piece of the news organization’s digital operations — the network hoped to turn around a daily online news show with Neistat, his business partner Matt Hackett, who is also leaving CNN. The company will attempt to reassign as many of the 22 staffers dedicated to Beme as possible.
“I don’t think I’m giving CNN what I want to give them,” Neistat said, “and I don’t think they’re getting value from me.”
Beme originated as an app that would only record video when the phone was placed against the user’s chest — or if the front-facing proximity sensor is blocked — a motif which was intended to keep content creators involved in the moment and not on the viewfinder.
“You can’t be afraid to take chances if you want to stay on top of an industry that is changing every day,” said Andrew Morse, general manager of CNN’s digital business. “This was a chance worth taking — we built products and developed key talent that has made CNN stronger.”
The Time Warner-owned channel reportedly paid at least $20 million for Beme. CNN’s digital division reportedly had a $20 million hole in its budget in 2017.