International news network, CNN (Cable News Network) plans to strengthen its presence in India in terms of content as well as among brands or advertisers, Sunita Rajan, SVP advertising sales, CNN, APAC, told, ETBE. “There is an editorial initiative, as per which we remain committed towards telling compelling stories. It’s not about committing to one or two or five hours of content anymore. It depends on the story and the topic and who we get to speak to,” she said.
At the same time, CNN claims to be working with many Indian brands to create a strong local market. In fact, a large part of this is being done on digital, Rajan stated, “We have a local market where we serve local audience. We monitise this base of local audience through brands. We are doing this much more on digital than TV. We realised TV is an overcrowded market.”
CNN on television has TV18 as its local partner for the news channel – CNN-News18.
According to Rajan, brands in the space of travel, technology, energy, government, among others can partner with the news network, if they aim to enter international markets.
As per industry estimates, in FY19 South Asia contributed to 15% of the overall revenue earned by CNN.
Interestingly, CNN claims that India is the third largest market in terms of viewers on digital. “We focus on digital and within digital the gateway is news. We have differentiated content in style, travel, business, health and sport. Travel and style are the two verticals which are doing well. It is a window to affluent Indian audience who have an appetite for this kind of content,” she said.
The network claims that the website generates close to 2 million unique browsers a month from India. CNNOnline claims to generate about 15 million page views per month.
CNN Digital (CNN.com, CNN.com International, CNN Apps) Latest Traffic performance in India
(Source: Adobe Reports & Analytics, India)
Qtr-to-Qtr Growth on CNN Digital (Q3 2018 vs Q2 2018)
(Source: Facebook Analytics, YouTube Analytics (Lifetime) / Report Q1 2018)
Premium Verticals (Monthly Video Starts. May-Oct’17 vs May-Oct’18)
CNN’s audience reach
The company has also launched a non-news programming initiative 18 months ago. Known as ‘India Now’ the property has been developed to tell various stories on India through people, politics, business, disruption, innovation and technology. Under this three-five pieces are shown every week –
Further, it launched Great Big Story – the news network’s mobile first social video network. Established in 2015 through an investment by CNN Worldwide, Great Big Story operates as an independent media company. “We called it Great Big Story because we found a gap in the kind of content shown by platforms such as Vice and Buzzfeed and YouTube, which perhaps has a large library of videos but lacked in telling a story which is backed by premium cinematic experience,” Rajan noted.
As per CNN, so far more than 2,000 videos have been produced by Great Big Story . It has generated 3.4 billion plus multi-platform video views to date and about 109 million multi-platform video views per month. It claims that average app session exceeds seven minutes.
As for business opportunities in India, the news network claims to follow a multi-platform and mutli-brand strategy. “We have audiences on TV, digital and now a significant base on social too. We monetise all these platforms,”she said.
As per Rajan, Great Big Story has proven to be a successful model, as it does not follow the standard advertising formats. “There is no pre-roll and post-roll banner. There are branded sponsorship opportunities and this makes it an interesting business model,” she added.
The videos are seeded through social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The news network claims that the product is a hit among travel and corporate brands with brands such as Sri Lanka Tourism and Lufthansa are part of it.