What’s can a publisher do when its core offering isn’t a perfect fit for digital sponsored content? Create an entirely new outlet, of course.
That, in a nutshell, has been CNN’s approach with Great Big Story (GBS).
A few years ago Turner realized that its flagship news platform wasn’t positioned to compete with companies like BuzzFeed both in terms of content and advertising. Fundamentally, consumers and brands viewed CNN as being different from those sorts of publishers.
Rather than try to fit a square peg into a round hole, the company instead developed GBS, which it calls: “A video network dedicated to the untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing.”
All of the content is made up of short, compelling, shareable documentary videos that are structured to resonate on social media (Rocking Out with an All-Female Hasidic Band; The Accidental Invention of the Best Snack Food Ever; etc.). The only advertising options are sponsorships, which are integrated into the content (GE and HP have already made buys).
According to CNN Money, the platform – which launched at the start of the year – has already “amassed almost 40 million monthly views across platforms, averaging 730,000 views per video and 22,000 shares. The average age of its 6.2 million fans is 27 years old, a hard-to-reach millennial demographic. Eighty percent of its views are mobile.”
So far it seems to be a very smart bet by the brand that is paying off well.
Check out Great Big Story here.