Lester who? Comcast-owned NBC News woos younger audience with Snapchat

Comcast Corp. has put $500 million into Snapchat and is now reaping the benefits of that relationship, though not financially.

NBC News, part of Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, on Wednesday launched a daily news show on the social-media platform, with the potential to reach 160 million time-deprived viewers who would like their news delivered casually and briskly and may have never heard of legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite or NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

NBC News’ “Stay Tuned” on Snapchat

It’s one of several digital-media projects or hires at NBCUniversal to attract youthful eyeballs and stay relevant with advertisers. In June, NBCUniversal hired former YouTube executive Laura Lee as an executive vice president for content in the digital enterprises unit. Lee reports to Maggie Suniewick, a former Comcast executive in Philadelphia who is now president of NBCUniversal digital enterprises in New York.

NBCUniversal through Comcast Ventures, which targets start-up companies, has invested about $1 billion in digital-media companies, in addition to its stake in Snap Inc.

“NBC News is trying to gain a toehold among a demographic that does not watch the evening news or cable news,” said Quinnipiac University journalism professor Richard Hanley. NBC News “can’t just repurpose [NBC Nightly News anchor] Lester Holt — bless his heart — for this new medium. The anchor in a suit and tie does not appeal” to young audiences, Hanley said.

NBC News says the twice-daily news show, called Stay Tuned, will appear on Snapchat’s Discover section. The show will be updated daily at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. There will be updates on the weekends at 1 p.m. There also could be updates to cover breaking news.

Stay Tuned will be produced in the NBC News newsroom at 30 Rockefeller Center, the NBCUniversal headquarters, and some footage will be shot live. NBC News has retained editorial control over the news show. The video for Stay Tuned will be edited for screens on smartphones, NBC News officials say.

Other Comcast digital-media investments include $400 million into BuzzFeed, the online news site, and $200 million into Vox, a portfolio of online brands.

Comcast Ventures, with offices in Silicon Valley, Philadelphia, and New York, also has backed Cheddar, which distributes its news shows on Twitter, Dish’s Sling TV, Amazon Channels, Pluto TV, Vimeo, and Facebook and its apps.

Through the DreamWorks Animation studio, which Comcast acquired last year, NBCUniversal also became the majority owner of Awesomeness TV, a popular entertainment brand with one of the top channels on YouTube, NBCUniversal head Steve Burke said when the company disclosed its investment into Snap earlier this year.

Snap shares were trading at $14.88 in the early afternoon Thursday, well off their 52-week high of $29.44.