By most accounts, this presidential election campaign has been a momentously bad moment for democracy.
But news networks are benefitting as viewers plug in to watch the horror show unfold, and advertisers follow them in.
CNN is finding a bump from both planned and unexpected executions, according to its owner Turner’s ad sales president Donna Speciale.
“News has become the new prime-time entertainment,” she tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “The election, I hate to say it, is entertaining. It’s sad that this is what it’s becoming, but it’s also exciting.
“Everybody’s tuning in. CNN.com is booming, CNN Go is out of control. I don’t think it’s going to reduce after the election is over. The inauguration has to happen in first quarter, it’s going to continue the momentum.
This season’s election debates have set all-time audience records, and robust examination from the likes of CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter have drawn Donald Trump to describe the network as “unwatchable”, “fiction” and “an arm of the Clinton campaign”.
For Speciale, all the attention is welcome, though not all of it was expected.
“We did not plan for all the debates CNN ended up getting,” she tells Beet.TV. “Between NBC, CNN and Fox, the debates had to be spread out.
“But I will tell you that a lot of the organizations wanted CNN to take place a little bit more – we ended up getting more of the debates. We did town halls that we were not planning on.”