CNN has launched its first product in 35 years targeting a younger audience with its own editorial team, proposition and operation. Sunita Rajan, vice president for advertising sales for CNN APAC, sits down with B&T to discuss the Great Big Story (GBS) mobile app and why “it gives us the right to win with this audience”.
The Great Big Story is a video network focusing on content that appeals to millennials – it is not news, it’s storytelling. Since its launch October last year, Great Big Story has a strong social media following with over two million Facebook likes.
“It’s almost like a startup, it’s a separate entity, separate look and feel, creative-thinking and approach which is aimed at the audience of 18-25 who want interesting videos and be part of the narrative in video storytelling,” Rajan told B&T.
“It’s a completely different direction we are going in, because we know that the millennial audience is an extremely important. We’ve got the brand heritage and the capabilities and the skill set to be able to commission and author the story-telling.”
“It gives us the right to win with this audience; the millennial audience which we wouldn’t be targeting on CNN sites with this product, with the video storytelling we know we’ve got something that they will jump onto.”
In line with the millennial media consumption pattern, GBS will have no pre-rolls or classic advertising. Instead the advertising opportunities are around branded content and different levels of brand and product integration. Rajan argues Great Big Story gives CNN more versatility in brands it can attract:
“It’s about having a product and being able to have a conversation with brands that traditionally would not advertise with CNN like your Adidas, Puma, Uniqu, fashion brands etc.
“What this allows us to do is you can reach the millennial audience, which we still reach on other CNN platforms (CNN Sport and CNN Style), but we can use the combination of scale and amplification on social by bringing the two together and still reaching the same audiences. That’s something which traditional sites don’t have that combination of- scale of the global audience and video storytelling on social platforms.”
Great Big Story is apart of wider strategy by CNN to expand into new verticals outside of CNN’s news products. Part two of the interview with Rajan will go deeper into CNN’s new ‘pride and joy’ CNN Style.