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CNN's Petra Malenicka: 'We don't talk about TV anymore'

At CNN, the Cable News Network owned by Turner Broadcasting, they no longer talk about television, says European leader Petra Malenicka.

CNN studio in London

CNN studio in London

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It might seem strange to outsiders, but at CNN we don't talk about TV any more – not to viewers, not to our advertisers and not amongst ourselves. Pan-regional TV isn’t a medium in isolation, but the key component of a cross-platform sell.

In fact, cross-platform stands for over 80% of our advertising revenue coming from Europe. When a media company adds digital, social and shareable content to its linear programming, there is a powerful proposition for consumers to make you their news brand of choice and for advertisers to turn to you as their brand-building media partner.

No media company can afford to ignore this trend – particularly pan-regional media, which rely on an unrivalled scale of extensive reach figures.

This premise is at the very forefront of this week’s EMS Europe media consumption survey from Ipsos which, amongst other trends, shows a surge in the ownership of smartphones and tablets amongst affluent Europeans.

A total of 82% of those surveyed as part of EMS Europe are watching international TV channels on a monthly basis, but with such devices in their hands more often than ever before, more people are seeking out content with no regard to platform.

Consumers are focused on quality and distinctive content, the brand which is behind that content, and the interactive and shareable elements within it – and it's the job of media to deliver what people want regardless of the platform.

What digital brings to pan-regional media

Looking behind the numbers, we're seeing that consumers are going to digital platforms for more than just convenience, but often for a rich experience that complements linear TV elements.

Whether it’s a more in-depth infographic or a shareable piece of video, there is an upward trend for digital right across pan regional media. It's usually said that advertisers follow the audiences, but brand partners want integrated solutions for more than just eyeballs.

Proprietary research at CNN across over 140 campaigns has shown that when an advertiser invests in a digital and linear campaign there's a 20% uplift in prompted brand awareness and a 5% uplift in purchase intent.

This engagement becomes turbo-charged when the content is shared – a CNN study on the 'Power of News and Recommendation' found that there is a strong emotional engagement for both the recommender and the person receiving the recommended content.

This is where social platforms from LinkedIn to Facebook augment the affiliation that consumers have with a particularly distinct piece of content and deliver a halo effect for advertising partners, with our study showing that advertising within news content recommended by a friend is five times more engaging.

While TV continues to deliver reach, the role of digital is ever expanding to provide more granular targeting, to increase engagement and further enhance user experience.

Building brands

Since 2009 we've seen a shift of spend, particularly amongst luxury goods, away from print towards TV as advertisers look for greater scale to build brands and reach new audiences on a pan-regional and global scale.

Fear amongst TV companies that a similar shift would take place from pan-regional TV towards digital, has given way to optimism and enthusiasm as we embrace a platform agnostic strategy.

There is clear additional value to the TV-led – but increasingly integrated – campaign that they've invested in. The buzz around the content becomes the buzz around the associated brand.

The European Patent Office sees more than 100,000 online shares on stories such as 'Wireless Electricity', including 71,000 Facebook recommendations within the first three days, as part of its sponsorship of our 'Make, Create, Innovate' programming. Omega sees the online component of its sponsorship of the Leading Women franchise generate 1,500 questions via social and CNN platforms for a live Space Chat with astronaut Karen Nyberg streamed on CNN.com.

What next?

This consumer and advertiser demand for integration, content and engagement will continue to greater lengths as uptake of connected and mobile devices accelerates and consumers become more used to receiving a recommendation via social platform than any other means.

The challenge for the big media brands is how to keep ahead of the curve on matching trends in media consumption, with the needs of advertisers to deliver the cut-through in a cluttered landscape.

While media owners and premium advertisers pore over this week’s EMS figures, in reality the capacity of media owners to respond effectively to expectations for integration, content and engagement, whilst still delivering reach, will determine which pan-regional media thrive in a world where social and digital platforms are a vital addition to the sheer scale of TV.  

Petra Malenicka is vice-president of ad sales, Western Europe at CNN International

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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