Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about CNN…
“CNN doesn’t seem to want to reframe itself according to the new identity of cable, but it doesn’t seem committed to an alternative strategy,” said Robert Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University . “They’re sticking with the brand that they’ve always been, and they’re having real ratings problems across the board.”
In interviews with POLITICO, several staffers throughout the organization described CNN as a troubled network suffering from an absence of editorial leadership. “There is no editorial guidance, no editorial culture,” said one staffer, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. “We’re always chasing the story. How often do you see something that’s fresh and distinctive?”
Despite the criticism and rating woes, CNN remains financially successful. The network is expected to make nearly $600 million in operating profit this year, which, like every year for the past 10 years, is a record high. Much of this comes from CNN International — which reaches 200 countries — and from the fees paid by the cable and satellite distributors who carry CNN. In fact, less than 10 percent of the network’s operating revenue comes from U.S. primetime advertising, which means that CNN/U.S. can afford to overlook its ratings.
But CNN, which prides itself on an extensive reporting staff, has never measured its success by revenue.
“CNN makes a lot of money, but the brand is the treasure,” David Bohrman, Feist’s predecessor at CNN and the man who oversaw the network’s coverage of the 2004 and 2008 elections, told POLITICO.
“There’s more pride at CNN when they do things that are big, important and right,” added Bohrman, who is now president of Current TV. “But there is a real identity crisis going on, and CNN is the one network where there should be no identity crisis.”