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NBCU Wants to Mash Up the News with Stake in Startup NowThis News

TelevisionMedia IndustryNBCUniversalNBCThe Huffington PostCNBC (tv network)

NBCUniversal's news division has made a minority investment in NowThis News, styled as a next-generation mobile-social video news provider, in a bid to better reach millennials and other digital audiences -- which are watching far less TV news these days.

The Peacock's unified news group owns a 10% stake of NowThis News, the New York-based startup founded in September 2012 by Huffington Post co-founder and former chairman Ken Lerer and former Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau. Other investors include Bedrocket Media Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, Lerer Ventures and SoftBank Capital.

Under the pact, the two companies will coproduce original short-form news videos out of NowThis News's Gotham studio. Those will be distributed across multiple properties including NBC's "Today" show, MSNBC, NBC News and CNBC. The video will fall into two buckets: mashups, covering daily political, entertainment or business news; and "explainers" analyzing business and political news.

The deal comes after NBCU announced an investment in Revere Digital, along with Terry Semel's Windsor Media, at the start of the year. That's the tech news and conferences company started by journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, who ended their partnership with Dow Jones & Co. for the now-defunct AllThingsDigital at the end of 2013. The NBCU News Group last year also acquired live-streaming video platform Stringwire.

"We know that news consumption among younger audiences continues to grow, but in order to reach that audience, we need to continue to create video for the platforms they use most," NBCU News Group chairman Patricia Fili-Krushel said in announcing the deal. "NowThis News does exactly that -- delivering relevant news stories for the mobile and social platforms that resonate with this audience."

NowThis News claims it has produced more than 10,000 short-form videos to date, from six-second snippets for Twitter's Vine up to 30 seconds. The startup offers apps for Android and Apple iOS devices and a mobile website.

Here is a video clip distributed by NowThis News from Sunday's Golden Globe Awards telecast on NBC:

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