With CNN ratings in decline, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes is not a happy man
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CNN is back in the news for the lackluster ratings performance that has dogged it for years now.
The peg is a recent Nielsen Co. data-point that shows the network last month logged its smallest audience in a decade.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both cued up CNN pieces as a result, and both articles include the ominous tidbit that Jeffrey Bewkes, chief executive of CNN's parent company, Time Warner, isn't happy.
Time Warner's current CEO, Jeff Bewkes, is "clearly not satisfied" with CNN's recent ratings and is pushing management of both CNN and Turner "to come up with a plan to restore momentum" of CNN, said a Time Warner spokesman.
Time Warner executives also stress that ratings aren't the only measure of the channel's value, pointing to its reach online and overseas and its status as the outlet that viewers turn to when there is big news.
Still, the weak ratings haven't gone unnoticed by cable and satellite TV operators, which pay fees to carry the channel.
Jeffrey Bewkes, the Time Warner chief executive, has made his dissatisfaction about the CNN/U.S. ratings known to his lieutenants and expects them to make changes, according to some of the 15 current and former CNN employees interviewed for this article. Those people, representing a wide cross-section of the channel, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by their bosses to talk to a reporter.
One of the employees said that Jim Walton, who oversees all of the CNN networks, and his boss, Philip I. Kent, who runs the Turner Broadcasting division of Time Warner, were under “intense pressure” to raise the ratings this spring.
In a statement, CNN said: “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors. In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.”
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