Will CNN Give Advertisers a New Venue in the News?

Mar 5, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A high-ranking advertising executive at CNN says the cable channel is open to allowing advertisers to place a logo on the news ticker that scrolls across the bottom of the screen, Variety reports.

Katrina Cukaj, executive VP of ad sales for CNN, is quoted saying in a recent interview: “If it’s financial information, if it’s actual data from the markets, I could potentially put a financial advertiser on there.”

The statement appears to be part of what the report describes as CNN’s “newly aggressive ad stance,” which Variety calls “a bet on the future of how TV news will be experienced.”

Variety adds: “In years past, CNN shunned such stuff, in the belief that mixing editorial and advertising too closely could foster a perception that CNN’s journalism was swayed by a sponsor. Throughout 2014, however, CNN seems to have, well, gotten over itself: The network has looked for more ways to weave ad messages into programming not so tied to breaking news, such as its ‘New Day’ morning show — where a logo for General Mills’ Fiber One cereal shows up during weather reports — or its original documentary series slated for prime time.”

The report quotes Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York, saying: “You could use the same model as sports, in which the scoreboard is not just a scoreboard, and when you look at it on television, it is sponsored by different brands at one time or another. You could look at this and say that’s what news television is going to become. I don’t think we are looking at five years from now. I think that this is all happening very quickly.”

The report notes that the idea isn’t exactly untried, pointing out that weather and sports segments on local news outlets are often sponsored by a single advertiser.

“CNN isn’t the first to tread these waters, of course,” Variety notes. “Yet its embrace of these concepts may be the biggest indication yet that concerns about mixing advertising and journalism seem less pressing when the ad dollars that fuel reportage are migrating away from some TV outlets.”


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