April 12, 2010
To: CNN Staff
From: Jim Walton
Tomorrow morning, CNN will host a Newsmakers presentation for the advertising community in New York. In panel discussions featuring CNN journalists from across the organization, we will talk broadly about our vision, our strengths and our multi-platform reach. I'm writing to tell you about it because you may see follow-up press coverage on the event and CNN.
I should say more press coverage on CNN.
In a few weeks, we will mark 30 years of building a global news business. Being first, reporting as and where stories happen, bringing focus, bringing honor to our profession-all of these also bring us our share of attention. Our fortunes, whether up or down, are news. We are experiencing a down period in one segment of our business, CNN/U.S. prime time. Critics have taken note and are offering all manner of suggestions for how to "fix" CNN. What's missing from these reports is an essential component of our journalism: context.
CNN/U.S. prime time is a high-profile piece of a much larger story. Its advertising revenue accounts for less than 10 percent of CNN's worldwide revenue; the remaining 90 percent comes from non-prime time programming on the network, as well as HLN, CNN.com, CNN International, CNN en Espanol, CNN Airport Network and all of the other CNN-branded news and information platforms that together deliver more news to more people than any other news organization in the world. So when Anderson Cooper reports live from Haiti in prime time on U.S. linear television, his ratings matter to us. But so do his numbers on our international networks, online, on mobile devices, in airports and hotel rooms, to our more than 1,000 affiliate partners and in all the other places and ways that people around the world access his smart, unbiased, leading journalism.
That we manage a portfolio of successful news platforms is a CNN difference and a distinct competitive advantage. Despite operating a cyclical business in a time of economic, political, technological and social change perhaps never seen in such magnitude, CNN has grown its profit year over year by more than 10 percent for six consecutive years. Weâ€™ve continued the newsgathering investment that ensures our immediacy and relevance. Our innovation in the social media space with partners including Facebook, YouTube and Apple is bringing the next generation of news consumers to the CNN brand. And our U.S. audience remains larger by millions than that of any other cable news network.
I understand the concern of some of our critics. I even agree with some of what they are saying. Because people trust us and depend on us, they hold CNN to a higher standard. We will continue to evolve where we need to, just as we always have. Meanwhile, news will happen around the world and we'll report it. CNN/U.S. and each of the CNN networks and businesses will remain essential in moments that matter. We will stay true to our strategy, values and journalistic integrity. We will not be partisan or beholden to any political or ideological agenda. We will do and be just fine.
That's the story we're telling tomorrow. It's a good one. I wanted you to hear it first, and again. Have a good day.