CNN and Turner this morning launched Great Big Story, a socially distributed video network of “optimistic” and “inspirational” storytelling, billing itself as the antidote for cat videos and “shouty lists.”
Founded by CNN’s Andrew Morse and Chris Berend, GBS’s EP is Courtney Coupe (ABC, Bloomberg). Staff also includes Creative Director Ben Whitla (Yahoo!); Matthew Drake (TIME, NowThis) is in charge of audience and content development, and Rob Sands (Amazon) oversees partnerships. David Spiegel (BuzzFeed) heads up sales.
GBS team of 30 was recruited from BuzzFeed, Vox, Vice, MTV, ABC, NowThis, Amazon, and Yahoo, and, in today’s announcement, GBS added, “We talk talent and brands with our friends at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on a regular basis.”
Three to five videos will be released each day. Among today’s initial video offerings: We Found Lisa Frank!, The Untold Story Of The Kool-Aid Man, Perfect Is Hard, Featuring Misty Copeland.
With a site and apps for both iOS and Android devices, GBS said today, “if that lift is too heavy for your dainty fingers” Great Big Story also is available on Facebook and will launch on YouTube, Apple News, and Snapchat in November, with plans to add Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, Chromecast, etc. soon after. Initial sponsors include Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Kind snacks.
In today’s announcement, GBS worked hard to distance itself from CNN, describing the cable news network as “like a sugar daddy we see on the weekends,” adding, “We’re a startup with a head start” and “an independent LLC” that makes its own decisions about what stories to tell and how to tell them.
That said, “from time to time we’ll call in a favor to CNN,” GBS said, adding, “Wouldn’t you if you could?”