Here’s How a ‘Young Influential’ Has Enabled CNN’s Branded Content Studio to Thrive

By A.J. Katz 

These days, when you think of CNN, the first thing that may come to your mind is their political coverage. But one shouldn’t forget that CNN houses a powerhouse branded content studio, Courageous, that’s doing some really interesting work right now.

Courageous was founded by 36-year-old Otto Bell, and he has been named to Adweek’s 2018 Young Influentials list. The magazine’s Young Influentials issue is out today.

Adweek is TVNewser’s parent publication.


Adweek TV/media editor Jason Lynch writes about Bell for the digital edition:

Ever since Otto Bell launched CNN’s in-house branded content studio in 2015, he’s kept his team separate from the company’s newsroom. But he’s enabled Courageous to flourish by mining CNN’s rich resources elsewhere, including its 1,000 engineers and global stable of freelance field producers.

While Courageous is known for its short-form videos, it’s also working on documentaries, animation, AR and live advertisements.

Bell, the studio’s chief creative officer, has lauded Courageous’ work producing live ad in virtual reality for the total solar eclipse in August 2017. The ad was for sponsor Volvo and its XC60.  Bell also cited Courageous’ work on CNN’s first-ever live ad on TV—and the first in cable TV history—for MassMutual, which aired during its New Year’s Eve special.