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CNN’s Ratings and Profitability in Major Decline

CNN’s Ratings and Profitability in Major Decline

“Projections from S&P Global Market Intelligence say that CNN’s profitability is on pace to decline to $956.8 million this year.”

CNN’s new chairman Chris Licht is desperately reaching out to disinterested Republicans, and it’s easy to understand why.

The network is losing ratings and the advertising dollars that come with them at an alarming rate.

Benjamin Mullin reports in the New York Times:

Profits Slump at CNN as Ratings Plummet

One of the first moves the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery made when it took over CNN was shutting down CNN+, the nascent streaming service that was touted as the network’s bridge to the future.

The next month, when Chris Licht took over as CNN’s chairman, he told employees in his first town hall meeting not to worry about ratings, a mainstay of TV news used as a benchmark for revenue and relevance.

Now, three months into Mr. Licht’s tenure, the network finds itself facing big questions about how it can continue to grow its business with its moonshot streaming service dead and the traditional TV business in structural decline.

Projections from S&P Global Market Intelligence say that CNN’s profitability is on pace to decline to $956.8 million this year. That would mark the first time since 2016 that the network has dipped below $1 billion in profit, according to three people familiar with its operations.

Two people familiar with CNN’s operations said that the network’s initial 2022 profitability target was $1.1 billion, which Mr. Licht is on track to miss by more than $100 million.

Ryan King of the Washington Examiner details efforts Licht has made to turn things around:

Licht’s appointment as CEO was announced in February, and he formally took over in May. The network drew an average of roughly 639,000 prime-time viewers during this quarter — a 27% nosedive from a year ago, per the New York Times. This puts CNN behind MSNBC, which is down 23% during the same time frame, and Fox News, which is up about 1%.

To remedy this dilemma, executives have reportedly been scrambling for ways to hunt for more money. Licht has reached out to Chris Marlin, who does not have experience managing a cable news company, to brainstorm ideas for revenue resurgence. He has reportedly pitched or mulled ideas such as advertising deals with major tech firms, selling sponsorships, and expanding operations in China.

CNN brass has also reportedly tamped down on expenses, with caps on travel and internal festivities to cut costs.

Frankly, I don’t know how CNN ever fixes this problem as long as they continue to employ people like Brian Stelter, Don Lemon, Jake Tapper, Jim Acosta and others.

There is no coming back from their coverage during Trump’s presidency. Their masks came off for all to see who they really are.


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This was posted yesterday in an article by Mary Chastain. “Licht extended invitations for the lawmakers to join CNN on air and provided data and examples of the network‘s reach and impact.” My question is, what reach and impact? That didn’t age well.

Progressive profits and viability. Karmic irony.

This is clickbait.

Profits – PROFITS – are down, to about a BILLION dollars. They’re losing market share. OK. But they’re still making a billion damn dollars.

Cause for some concern? Yeah. Cause for panic?? Hardly. Advertisers aren’t running away from the brand, and how much of that decline is due to Bidenflation?

Will things change at CNN? Probably not much and probably not for a long time. Will CNN shut down? Not in this lifetime.

    Gosport in reply to mbecker908. | August 3, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    Advertisers aren’t really an issue. CNN makes it’s money selling their crap to cable providers and streaming services.

    Things won’t really change until those buyers decide to cut them.

    casualobserver in reply to mbecker908. | August 3, 2022 at 9:50 pm

    I refuse to purposefully click to anything at the NYT. So I haven’t read the details and don’t know how they might define “profitability”. But if is the common EBITDA value to compare earnings apples to apples, that number isn’t so impressive in a capital intense cable news industry. Plus, the absolute amount they bank is less the concern for management. It’s about what it represents (viewership) and how is competes. If MSNBC and FNC are routinely earning 50% higher and more, CNN has less options to spend and compete. Like new shows and on the ground reporting, etc.

    They are trying to avoid the cascade.

    Viewers begin to shun them. Cable providers start getting feedback that customers don’t want/care about CNN. This drives the providers to resist any price increases, as a threat to drop a channel that a majority of your customers don’t want is no threat at all. Eventually, they see the falling numbers affecting their regional/local advertisers, and they request CNN drop their prices to reflect ad-sales reality. The first major provider that gets a price cut from CNN, or drops it completely, opens the floodgates for all other providers to do the same.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to mbecker908. | August 5, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    I am hoping that falls to 1/2 billion within a year..

Ummm, best way Warner can make money from CNN is to fire everyone & sell the assets..

The brand is probably WAY too toxic to hope for some kind of turnaround at this point. And it doesn’t help that they haven’t fired idiots like Stelter and Lemon yet. Those guys are brand-killers all by themselves.

nordic prince | August 3, 2022 at 5:01 pm

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving company.

Dogs get more actual information by sniffing each other’s butts than human can possibly get by watching CNN.

Fire the partisans which is most of the ‘talent’. Implement the old Headline news format until they can figure out replacements. Use MSNBC and Fox as the rails and find a position between them that splits the difference. Don’t have overtly partisan hosts or personalities. At least pretend to be neutral. Give actual equal time and equal clarity, opportunity for explanation for both sides. There is a market for that.

“Don’t have overtly partisan hosts or personalities. At least pretend to be neutral.”

Why, that would be like asking the promiscuous gay community to have a “no nut next two weeks” to flatten the curve.
It’s too much to humanly ask!

Let it die

The big cheese at CNN asked “what’s the matter”
“Why are our ratings so deep in the crapper?!?”
We have Brian Stetler – a real Wolly Willy
And Anderson Cooper so dapper and frilly

We got us a Lemon in a brown paper wrapper
And my favorite old sourpuss the dour Jake Tapper
He commissioned a poll – the viewers they did ask
Why have we slipped in the ratings to last?

To airports and nursing homes, the pollsters did go
To prisons and gay bars and San Francisco
In the end they acknowledged CNN’s place in the dump
But as for the cause, you know they’ll blame Trump

As a former professional journalist wandering through a degraded media landscape, it’s a close contest between the NYT and CNN for what makes me angrier when I’m energetic and more depressed when I am contemplative.

I don’t want either one of them to vanish, but rather to pass into sane hands. I am not hopeful. We are on the brink of losing (if we haven’t already lost) our free press. Forget the politics for a microsecond. This is a loss for our country, and with me anyway, country comes first.

God help us.

    Hollymon in reply to RandomCrank. | August 4, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    I understand, but disagree. It is my impression that neither CNN nor the NYT understands the nation’s need for the objective reporting of facts and the clear identification of commentary. They have already been lost. What remains is nothing but a distorted echo of what they once were.

To be honest, I’d give them the time of day if they went back to being a balanced unbiased organization…..but they are so far gone that I don’t believe that will ever happen.

A shift to the right for this organization would be minimal and it would be met with vociferous hostility from their small cult following.

    RandomCrank in reply to healthguyfsu. | August 3, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    The only way to fix CNN would be to start by firing not just the announcers, but the producers. Don’t hold your breath.

NewYawkahBroad | August 4, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Don’t worry. The MILLIONS and MILLIONS George Soros gets from the government will easily keep them afloat.

Hey! There’s always Chris Wallace; and they reportedly are paying this genius $12 million per year.

I thought they hated capitalism.
They should be rejoicing and finding more anchors who hate America and Americans to rant and rave more during prime time.