NBCUniversal Gets in the Short-Form Video News Game with NowThis News Investment

/ Jan 13, 2014


NBCUniversal has taken a minority stake in short-form video news provider NowThis News. The two companies will work together to develop news content that can live across the social platforms NowThis already distributes to, as well as produce on-air segments for various NBCU news properties.

The exact amount of the investment is unclear, though The New York Times reports that NBCUniversal will acquire a 10% stake in NowThis News, which is backed by Huffington Post co-founder and current BuzzFeed chairman Kenneth Lerer and his Lerer Ventures investment firm. Other investors include Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman.

Per the deal, which was announced this morning, the partnership will focus on developing short-form news video clips that can be delivered to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and even Snapchat. These videos are also uploaded to NowThis’ iOS and Android apps, allowing users the flexibility to watch the latest news wherever they are.

“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, in a statement. “NowThis News does exactly that — delivering relevant news stories for the mobile and social platforms that resonate with this audience.”

In some cases, NowThis and NBCU News will co-produce content for “Today,” MSNBC, NBC News, and CNBC, including mashup videos of the day’s political, pop culture, and business news, as well as “explainers,” which will break down business, political, or financial news into digestible formats.

“Our partnership with NowThis News is another example of our commitment to emerging platforms so that our advertising partners can increase their audience reach,” said Linda Yaccarino, president of ad 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.”

NowThis News currently produces 50 short video segments per day. According to the Times, eventually the two companies will enable viewers to click to longer stories and videos based on the short clips available via NowThis.

NBCUniversal, meanwhile, is clearly serious about investing in the digital media business. The company recently backed Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher’s new website, Re/code, and late last year acquired UGC video news startup Stringwire.

And yes, this is yet another instance of investment or acquisition money going from traditional media to new media. The saga continues.

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