CNN Invests $40 Million in Digital Studio Great Big Story

Courtesy of Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Turner

The funding will be used to help Great Big Story build a 24-hour streaming network for longform, nonscripted and acquired programming.

CNN is investing $40 million in its digital studio, Great Big Story, as the video start-up looks to build a 24-hour streaming network. 

The investment, which will be made over two years, comes as the two-year-old Great Big Story looks to compete in an increasingly crowded online video landscape.

The start-up, which was created to produce shortform videos that weren't tied to the 24-hour news cycle, plans to launch its "always-on" network in summer 2018. The network will combine live programming with long-=form, unscripted and acquired content. Great Big Story will distribute the network on over-the-top services, skinny bundles, linear channels and other digital platforms. 

Time Warner-owned CNN launched Great Big Story in 2015 as its answer to the rise of digital video-centric start-ups such as BuzzFeed and Vice. Since then, the news network has also acquired Casey Neistat's Beme app and is planning to launch a daily news show with the YouTube star.

Vice on Monday announced that it has raised $450 million from TPG and CEO Shane Smith indicated that an IPO could be in the company's short-term plans. BuzzFeed, meanwhile, has raised two rounds of funding from NBCUniversal, which recently launched a Great Big Story competitor called Left Field out of its news bureau. 

At the company's NewFront in May, CNN president Jeff Zucker touted that Great Big Story has seen 300 percent growth year-over-year. 

Great Big Story also is planning a weekend festival, called Great Big Weekend, that will combine food, film, music and other topics. It is set for fall 2018. 

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