NBCUniversal Takes Stake in Digital Video News Network NowThis News

5:42 AM PST 01/13/2014 by Georg Szalai
Joseph Moran/NBC
Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group

The partners will co-produce and distribute video news across mobile and social platforms.

NBCUniversal's NBCUniversal News Group on Monday unveiled a deal with short-form video news network NowThis News that focuses on mobile and social media users in an attempt to reach younger audiences.

Under the deal, NBCUniversal News Group will take a minority stake in NowThis News, which is believed to amount to 10 percent. Financial details weren't disclosed. 

Huffington Post co-founder and former chairman Kenneth Lerer founded NowThis News together with former Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau.

The two companies said they will co-produce original short-form news videos from the digital firm's New York City studio and distribute them across mobile and social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, YouTube and Snapchat. They will also be produced for NBC's Today, MSNBC, NBC News and CNBC.

The partners said the jointly produced videos will be mash-ups of daily political, pop culture or business news, as well as "explainers," which will be "breaking down business, political or financial news."

NowThis News offers its videos via Android and Apple apps and a mobile site.

"As more people consume news and information on mobile and social media, this collaboration will capitalize on the News Group's world-class news operations and NowThis News's approach to original, short-form storytelling to reach the next generation of users," the companies said.

"We know that news consumption among younger audiences continues to grow, but in order to reach that audience, we need to continue to create video for the platforms they use most," said Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group. "NowThis News does exactly that -- delivering relevant news stories for the mobile and social platforms that resonate with this audience."

Lerer, who is also managing director of Lerer Ventures, said: "By working together, the NBCUniversal News Group and NowThis News can learn from each other and build a great digital news experience that's a win-win for the new news consumer who wants all video all the time, built for social and mobile. This partnership allows us to showcase our shared vision of combining the world's strongest news brands with NowThis News to super-serve consumers."

Added Linda Yaccarino, president, advertising sales at NBCUniversal, "With this collaboration, we have the ability to innovate and harness the power of compelling video and create campaigns that resonate more strongly with consumers."

NBCUniversal News Group said its digital assets now reach more than 70 million unique users per month. The firm recently finalized an investment and content partnership with Kara Swisher's and Walt Mossberg's new technology news venture, Revere Digital.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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