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By Mae Slater on
 March 4, 2024

CNN's new CEO desperately working to keep organization above water, Trump will get the last laugh as CNN's collapse continues

CNN, once a titan of the media industry, is now navigating through a storm of challenges that threaten to crash the business.

PJ Media reported that new CEO Mark Thompson is taking bold steps, including slashing budgets and considering the dismissal of some of the network's highest-paid anchors, in a strategic shift towards prioritizing digital content over traditional broadcasts, aiming to breathe new life into the struggling network.

For years, CNN enjoyed a prominent position in the news landscape, setting the standard for 24-hour news coverage. However, it has seen a significant decline in viewership, with Fox News consistently outperforming it. This trend has not only affected its bottom line but has also led to a tarnished reputation among viewers who question its impartiality and trustworthiness.

CNN's coverage of former President Donald Trump is one of those factors that led to their tarnished reputation. Ironically, when all is said and done, it seems Trump's influence will outlast CNN.

The challenge of restoring credibility is daunting. The network's previous CEO, Chris Licht, openly acknowledged a need to rebuild trust, an admission that laid bare the depth of CNN's predicament. Despite its aspirations to be the "most trusted name in news," skepticism remains about its ability to uphold impartiality, especially in a polarized media environment.

The High Cost of Star Power

In an effort to curb financial losses, CNN is scrutinizing its roster of high-profile anchors. Anderson Cooper, Chris Wallace, Wolf Blitzer, and Jake Tapper, whose salaries collectively represent a significant expenditure for the network, find themselves under threat of being axed. Cooper, with his $20 million salary, and Wallace, earning $8 million, are particularly noted for their precarious standing within the organization.

The network's efforts to streamline its operations and reduce costs have put everyone on edge, with even the highest earners not immune to potential cuts. The contracts of these anchors, which extend past the upcoming November elections, provide a temporary reprieve, delaying any immediate changes to their status.

Mark Thompson, who has a history of making tough decisions to cut costs, is at the helm of this transformative period for CNN. He aims to move away from the traditional model of star-driven news to a more digital-centric approach, favoring personalities who can bring a strong online following to the network. This strategy reflects a broader industry trend towards digital content consumption.

A Digital Pivot Amid Falling Ratings

As Thompson steers CNN towards a digital-first strategy, the network faces the uphill task of regaining its footing in a rapidly evolving media landscape. This pivot is crucial for capturing younger audiences who increasingly consume news online rather than through traditional television.

However, CNN's digital endeavors have seen significant setbacks, notably the failure of CNN+, which was shut down shortly after its launch due to abysmal subscription numbers. This fiasco highlighted the difficulties in transitioning from a well-established cable news outlet to a competitive player in the digital content arena.

The decline in viewership has been stark, with CNN recording its lowest ratings since 2014 at the end of 2023. This downturn is especially concerning in the crucial 25-to-54 age demographic, underscoring the need for the network to adapt quickly to changing viewer preferences and consumption habits.

The perception of bias has been a critical issue for CNN, with critics arguing that the network's editorial stance has contributed to its credibility crisis. A commentator observed, "CNN claims to be fair and without bias, yet anti-conservative views have long been part of its DNA," highlighting the challenge of balancing editorial content with the expectation of impartiality.

Conclusion

  • CNN is grappling with declining ratings and credibility issues.
  • Aggressive cost-cutting measures are underway, including the potential termination of high-salary anchors.
  • The network is shifting towards a digital-first strategy to revitalize its brand.
  • Perceptions of bias and a loss of trust have tarnished CNN's reputation.
  • High-salary anchors like Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace face uncertain futures at the network.
  • CNN's viewership has hit a low point, highlighting the urgency for change.
  • The failure of CNN+ underscores the challenges of digital expansion.
Written By:
Mae Slater

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