Jeff Zucker caused a bit of a stir this week when he told Capital New York that he wants CNN to express a unique “attitude” and have “more shows and less newscasts.” It appears that some of the biggest ad buyers in the business may agree with him.
The New York Post’s Claire Atkinson spoke to multiple advertising industry representatives who expressed disappointment with the first year of Zucker’s tenure as president of CNN.
“To the naked eye, it doesn’t seem there’s been an immediate visible improvement in performance,” TargetCast’s head of national buying, Gary Carr said.
And ad buyer Marc Morse from R.J. Palmer added, “You want to see them taking shots. Without risks, networks just stagnate.”
In many ways these sentiments reflect Zucker’s latest comments about refashioning CNN to be less about breaking news, which has always been its strength, and more about personalities like Anthony Bourdain, who bring a specific perspective to the network.
As Atkinson points out, while total day ratings in the 25-54 demo are up 3% over the previous year under Zucker, prime time numbers continue to decline. According to SNL Kagan, CNN’s net ad revenue is projected to drop to $293.2 million in 2013 from $327.7 million in 2012, which had the benefit of being a presidential election year.
Whether Zucker will be able to turn things around and satisfy ad buyers in 2014 by attracting “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E” is yet to be seen.
[photo via CNN]
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