COLOGNE – In the midst of “one of the biggest stories of our lives, from a news perspective,” many viewers who don’t access CNN in the traditional way are watching CNNgo via connected televisions, with dwell and session times of “more than an hour and a half,” says Chris Berend, SVP, Global Video.
“The audiences are coming to us not just on the desktop home page, which is such a powerful force for us. Our mobile numbers are going through the roof and, frankly, OTT has begun to really, really take hold,” Berend explains in this interview with Beet.TV at the annual DMEXCO conference.
“That for us is proof that the brand resonates as much as it ever has. It’s also an indicator of where a lot of consumption and behavior is headed.”
CNN sees news consumption as “less fragmented and more of a giant fire hose,” Berend adds.
The global news provider walks a daily tightrope that is the oft-vitriolic political discourse some advertisers don’t want to be associated with, according to Berend. Among advertisers, there’s a higher sensitivity right now to salaciousness and vitriol prevalent within the political realm in the United States.
“Every advertiser is different and within categories, you have a lot of different concerns and sensitivities,” he says. “But we’ve also been very smart and we understand what they’re concerned about and so we put, whether it’s technical things or thematic things or editorial pieces in place, to make sure that they do have a safe environment to get their message across.”
Meanwhile, CNN has been growing a lower-profile asset in Great Big Story, launched nearly three years ago. Great Big Story is an independent media company owned by CNN that’s executed more than 50 brand partnerships this year while opening new doors for the news network.
Great Big Story monetizes its content through sponsorships and advertising. “We don’t run pre-rolls. This is not a video-start farm,” says Berend, who co-founded the operation.
While Great Big Story represents a different style and approach to the traditional digital business within CNN, it “starts a conversation with new advertisers that we may not be getting through our doors at CNN proper and it also starts a conversation with new audiences.”
The average age of user of Great Big Story is roughly 27 to 28, quite a bit younger than traditional CNN viewer.
“For us, it’s hitting all the right notes and the business is growing exponentially, and at this point we’re just trying to keep up,” Berend says.
This interview is part of a series titled Advertising Reimagined: The View from DMEXCO 2018, presented by Criteo. Please find more videos from the series here.