Like fantasy football with media companies, imagining a CNN/NY Times combo. To which I add USIB.

Posted: 26 Aug 2012

Nieman Journalism Lab, 23 Aug 2012, Ken Doctor: "Let’s imagine what a New York Times/CNN combination would look like — and what it could do for both companies. ... The timing is near-perfect. Mark Thompson, after all, comes to the Times as a broadcaster. ... He is one of the few people who could have taken the job who brings both a broadcast background and one of airtight news credibility, given the BBC’s standards. ... Everyone from Bloomberg to the FT and BBC and from the Journal to the Times and the Guardian, is now moving on the vast global opportunity (English-speaking and otherwise). No longer must the Brits be satisfied with their one percent of the world market, or Americans with five percent. Here both CNN and the Times are among the top contenders. With 32 journalists outside the U.S. and 24 foreign bureaus, the Times has maintained a global presence, when most of its print brethren have severely cut back. CNN’s 33 foreign bureaus and vast carriage across the world lay continued claim to its birthright. If you are overseas and watch CNN International, it’s a night-and-day different product than CNN U.S.; adding the Times to the mix would lengthen its international lead."

Recommended reading. Ken Doctor really gets into this, even adding a detailed comparison chart.

Such combinations will be imperative in an increasingly competitive global media environment. This is why the Broadcasting Board of Governors must abandon its many brands, many managements strategy, and combine itself into one entity. (More precisely, convince Congress to combine it into one entity.) Furthermore, the new combined USIB entity must try to join with the CNN/NYT combination, if it ever happens.

CNN and NYT, as private news organizations, would be loath to jeopardize their credibility by going into business with the US Government, no less. This, then, is how it could be done: The US Government would, for a fixed number of years (at least five, I would think) place USIB entirely under the management of the CNN/NYT combo. During that period, there would be no kibitzing by the government on content, on hiring, or on anything. There would only be renewal or non-renewal of the contract. The terms might include a payment by the government to the CNN/NYT combination, or it might be more of a barter arrangement: CNN/NYT would have access to the global newsgathering talent and resources of USIB, as well as access to USIB transmitters and affiliates.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Radio & TV Talk blog, 25 Aug 2012, Rodney Ho: "[R]eadily apparent inside CNN’s downtown Atlanta headquarters is the emphasis on international news, which extends back to the Turner days. 'Ted Turner, God bless him,' says Chuck Roberts, a CNN Headline News anchor from 1982 to 2010. 'He pushed the envelope internationally when people thought that was a dumb idea.' Roberts is in China this month teaching media training for the Missouri School of Journalism. ... 'The international side has taken over news-gathering,' said the CNN International insider. 'You go the morning meeting, you might think you’re at the BBC.' That emphasis may be a smart long-term play. The international division totals about 20 percent of CNN’s revenue and is growing rapidly."

Olathe (KS) News, 26 Aug 2012, Scott Collins: "[T]he rating hemorrhage hasn't shoved CNN into the red, at least not yet. According to media research firm SNL Kagan, CNN's U.S. network will earn in 2012 about $400 million on just over $1 billion in revenue from ad sales and subscriber fees. But those numbers have remained stubbornly flat over the last few years. [Sam] Feist, CNN's Washington bureau chief, pointed out that healthy revenues for CNN International, which operates around the world, virtually ensure a handsome return for Time Warner, which faces plenty of other challenges, as with its slumping magazines. That may help explain why the pace of change has remained slow as U.S. rivals have zoomed past CNN's domestic network."

Worldscreen, 16 Aug 2012, CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour as interviewed by Anna Carugati: "[T]he kind of thing that I hope to do: current affairs, get behind the headlines, try to broaden the perspective, and definitely not take it just from a U.S. perspective even though we are in the U.S. and CNN is an American company. Ted Turner broke the mold, blazed the trail with CNN international. And not just that, by really hammering into all of us, from the lowest level to the top level at CNN—this was 1985, I had started about two years before—that we don’t say the word foreign. We are not political activists, nor are we a bastion of nationalist sentiment. We cover the news and we do it with a global perspective."

Advanced Television, 24 Aug 2012: At the MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, Liz Murdoch, chairman of News Corp’s UK television production firm, "spoke positively about the BBC’s digital efforts, saying it 'seems to be the furthest ahead in understanding that our new world demands new ecosystems.'"

Copyright 2006–2018 Kim Andrew Elliott.