CNN Considers Turning 'Great Big Story' Brand Into OTT Network

CNN is weighing whether to turn its “Great Big Story” video brand, which publishes short-form videos on social platforms and YouTube, into a full-fledged OTT service. With an average viewer age of 27, GBS "is really the bullseye for what advertisers say they want to reach," said CNN president Jeff Zucker.

Speaking at the Business Insider Ignition conference, Zucker said the company will decide how to proceed over the next year or two.

“There has been such demand for short-form video that we think there is an opportunity in the marketplace,” Zucker said. “This has been the big story over the last few years. Everybody wants to do short-form video, and they found out, you know what? It is not so easy. For us, it is what we do.”



GBS does not feature any CNN branding, and combines uplifting editorial content with branded videos from sponsors.

At the moment, CNN offers a streaming version of its linear TV channel for verified pay-TV subscribers, which is included in a handful of “skinny” streaming bundles, but it does not offer any stand-alone OTT products. 

As millennials increasingly forego large pay-TV bundles for skinny bundles or a fragmented mix of streaming services, CNN still wants to have some sort of presence in their video diet. Zucker argued that pursuing a strategy that reaches millennials through brands relevant to them, rather than trying to change their viewing habits, is the correct course of action.

“If we go chasing millennials to watch CNN [on TV], we are going to fail,” he said.

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