The predicted recession in the US promises media companies a reduction in advertising revenues, so staff optimization is expected in other major media outlets as well. But CNN has its own problems. The Daily Caller points out that CNN’s revenue this year will be less than $1 billion for the first time since 2016. As The Guardian notes, CNN is also losing its audience. When covering the midterm elections to the US Congress, the channel lost out to its main competitors in terms of audience.
According to one point of view, this is the result of a bet on commentary and the transformation of CNN into a mouthpiece of liberalism, which became especially noticeable during the years of Donald Trump. As his presidency ended, many of the media outlets that thrived on his scandalization saw their ratings plummet.
They want to make CNN politically neutral, but is such a channel in demand in the US?
Therefore, one of the desires of the new management is a gradual move away from commentary and CNN’s clear liberal bias towards bipartisan content and the original brand spirit that founder Ted Turner put into it, who considered the main star to be news. Against this background, several leading liberal commentators have already left the channel in recent months.
But how realistic such a reversal is today is an open question. After all, the press competes for the attention of readers with many other types of content designed to evoke an emotional response. On the one hand, against the backdrop of endless information battles, many viewers in opinion polls talk about the desire to see unbiased news. On the other hand, centrism has not been in fashion in America in recent years. “The reality is that it’s hard for any media organization to move away from an era of political strife because it’s so profitable for revenue and ratings,” writes The Guardian. The non-triviality of the task is also understood by the new management of CNN. Licht himself, in a recent interview with the Financial Times, partly contradicting thoughts about returning to informational sources, said: “You need to be exciting, sharp, which in many cases means taking sides.”
A different path has been taken in recent years by The New York Times, whose experience in shifting its business model from print to digital subscription revenues is generally considered successful in the US. The newspaper, which has been one of the main mouthpieces against Trump, also faced a drop in audience after his departure, but did not abandon the liberal bias. To be less dependent on turbulent news cycles, the publication has relied on the development of non-news content for subscribers: these are games, cooking materials and podcasts. Last year, up to half of the new subscribers to the Gray Lady were led by these services.