What CNN Isn’t Telling You About Its Future


As cousins, friends, and fellow patriots, we have always known that the mainstream media, particularly CNN, has been steadily losing touch with our values and our nation’s pulse. Today, we’re witnessing a telling tale of desperation, as CNN tries to stay afloat in a rapidly altering media landscape. What do we make of their latest gambit: cutting jobs, shifting to digital subscriptions, and touting lofty plans? The handwriting is on the wall – the times they are a-changin’, and even the once-giants must adapt or face obsolescence.

Mark Thompson, recently minted CEO of CNN, has drawn first blood by announcing the elimination of around 100 positions across the company. Yes, folks, that’s roughly 3% of the entire workforce. Ostensibly, these layoffs are part of a bold plan to reinvigorate CNN’s digital presence and drag the network into the 21st century. But make no mistake, this is a drastic measure to arrest a precipitous decline. CNN has been hemorrhaging viewers and revenue since its golden days.

The new digital strategy you see unfolding is the core of Thompson’s masterplan. CNN aims to shift focus toward a direct-to-consumer subscription service, promising to generate over a billion dollars in revenue. This seismic shift is a tacit admission of the futility of their traditional cable business model. Who needs cable when the same content can be streamed digitally? In effect, CNN is venturing into the uncharted terrain of subscription-based news, where they will face formidable rivals. Remember the failed CNN+ experiment? We’re being asked to believe this is a wiser approach.

One cannot ignore the anomaly in their recent viewership. The presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump drew an impressive 51.27 million viewers. That is substantial. Still, we must remember this is a once-in-a-blue-moon event. It does little to hide the broad decline in viewership and ratings CNN has seen in regular programming. Even their most-watched program in recent times – the GOP debate featuring Trump in 2015 – managed only a paltry 23.1 million viewers. Nope, this one-time success doesn’t replace substance.

Mark Thompson knows CNN’s struggle is not just in espousing new digital fronts. He emphasizes the need to enhance news offerings by integrating artificial intelligence tools, unifying disparate news divisions under single leadership, and fortifying global bureaus. The object is seamless story transitions. Asia, Europe, and Latin America are their focus areas. This is Thompson’s hope to regain lost ground, but AI in news could be a slippery slope.

The stakes are high. CNN is banking on their new digital service generating over a billion dollars in revenue. To put that number into perspective, it’s about 25% of their current annual revenue, a number they desperately need to sustain. Behind all this is Thompson’s vision to nurture a digital subscription model akin to that of The New York Times, where he previously steered their successful transition.

A novel “TV Futures Lab” will be created to explore innovative ways to bring linear news to digital platforms. It’s a high-stakes innovation initiative leveraging streaming and on-demand content for Max, the parent company’s streaming service. Thompson is betting the farm on this becoming the future of news.

CNN’s reorganization involves merging their U.S., international, and digital news divisions under a single leadership. They hope to align news operations for a multi-platform future. This overhaul hints at a shift toward a global, integrated multimedia news operation. Should this succeed, it could herald a new era in modern news dissemination.

As we witness CNN’s determined struggle for survival, let us sit back, observe, and introspect. The media landscape is reshaping at an unimaginable speed, and traditional powerhouses are scrambling to navigate uncharted waters. It’s a cautionary tale for both sides of the aisle – adapt or face the consequence of obscurity.