BuzzFeed partners with video news startup run by former CNN, ABC and WaPo execs

All Things D
The video news startup code-named Planet Daily unveiled its real name — NowThis News — and announced a strategic partnership with BuzzFeed today.

The so-called “CNN Killer” (does CNN even need a killer at this point?) also announced its executive team:

Peter Kafka of All Things D talked to NowThis investor Ken Lerer about how NowThis News will work. He writes: “The service, backed by $5 million in funding, has a studio in Manhattan and a staff of 16. … Rather than produce hours of streaming content a day, it is supposed to produce a handful of daily news reports, and plans to distribute them via mobile phones and social media.”

Lerer, who is a Huffington Post co-founder and the chairman of BuzzFeed, tells Kafka “we’re going to produce short video pieces that will hopefully be very viral and very social, one at a time.”

Launch is aimed for mid-October, Kafka reports.

Under the partnership with BuzzFeed, NowThis News will fill a dedicated video section on the site. A news release says NowThis will “produce content that complements BuzzFeed editorial while producing its own original video news stories.”

BuzzFeed describes itself as “the world’s first true social news organization,” and in the past year has been expanding from its initial base of viral videos and photos. It hired Ben Smith away from Politico to be its editor-in-chief, launching serious news coverage of politics. It has expanded to other content verticals such as sports, technology and, today, music, and recently has tried to reinvent the traditional wire story using animated GIFs.

News release:

September 10, 2012, New York – NowThis News, a digital video news network, today announced its executive team and a strategic partnership with BuzzFeed, the popular, fast-growing social news site. NowThis News, code-named Planet Daily during development, will offer video news for mobile and social news consumers.

NowThis News also announced that Eason Jordan, former CNN Chief News Executive, is General Manager; Ed O’Keefe, former ABC News Digital Executive Producer, is Editor-in-Chief; and Katharine Zaleski, former Washington Post Executive Director of Digital News, is Managing Editor.

Kenneth Lerer, Partner of Lerer Ventures, co-founder of NowThis News along with Lerer Ventures Partner Eric Hippeau, said: “We’re creating NowThis News to meet straight on the inevitable and rapid changes happening in news consumption: digital, mobile, social and video – that’s what NowThis News is about. We’re thrilled to have Eason as General Manager, Ed as Editor-in-Chief, and Katharine as Managing Editor, along with the rest of the executive team, as we launch the company.”

NowThis News’s leadership team also includes veterans from a wide range of leading news outlets, including: Head of Production Steven Belser, former Head of Production of VICE Media; Chief Technology Officer Theo Burry, former Technical Director of The Huffington Post; and Social Editor Drake Martinet, former Social/Multimedia Editor of AllThingsD. The NowThis News team also includes veterans of NBC News, The New York Times, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Fox News, PBS, NPR, Al Jazeera, Slate, MTV, and HBO.

Said Eason Jordan: “As more and more people turn to mobile and social outlets for their news, now is the perfect time to launch a video news network built for the digital generation. I’m excited to be working with such a talented, experienced, and impressive team.”

Said Ed O’Keefe: “Our goal is to create a socially relevant, buzzy, and creative approach to news. And BuzzFeed, with its remarkable success and reach, is a dream partner.”

NowThis News will be a video partner of BuzzFeed, with a dedicated vertical within the social news site’s platform. NowThis News will produce content that complements BuzzFeed editorial while producing its own original video news stories.

NowThis News is backed by Lerer Ventures, Bedrocket Media Ventures, and Oak Ventures.

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  • Anonymous

    Lots of expensive mouths to feed in that leadership team. Good thing for venture funding, eh? Will there be money left over for original news reporting, or can we expect NowThisNews to just re-report what other news outlets have already reported?