Time Warner chief says part of the overhaul would be to make CNN less dependent on breaking news for ratings boosts
Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes made it clear to analysts Wednesday that big changes are in store for struggling CNN.
"We are not satisfied with CNN’s ratings performance and we are focused on fixing it," Bewkes said shortly after the media giant released its quarterly financial results.
He added that part of the overhaul would be to make CNN less dependent on breaking news for ratings boosts. To that end, Bewkes said that the network's regularly scheduled programs must be presented in a "…compelling and more engaging way."
Some of the changes at CNN, which is flagging behind rivals MSNBC and Fox News, are already taking place, starting with a management overhaul that saw Jim Weston ousted from his position as CNN Worldwide president last Friday.
In his exit note to staff, Walton acknowledged that the CNN needed "new thinking." But the situation at the news network is dire and may take more than a few creative ideas and fresh blood.
CNN saw its lowest ratings since 1991 in the second quarter of 2012 in both the Monday-Friday and Monday-Sunday categories, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.
Bewkes said that the network would not follow the path of its more ideologically driven rivals MSNBC and Fox News, which have carved out niches with liberals and conservative viewers respectively.
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The Time Warner chief said he still believes that there is "a strong demand for objective, comprehensive and non-partisan coverage."
He also argued that despite its ratings headaches, CNN is "a great brand" with the "biggest reach in the news category."
Bewkes' remarks came after a quarter that saw Time Warner's net income fall to $429 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $637 million, or 59 cents a share, in the same period last year. The company's revenue missed analysts' projections, dropping 4 percent to $6.7 billion.
Shares of Time Warner were flat in recent trading at $39.12.