Things over at CNN aren’t going so great now that Donald Trump is out of the White House, with ratings crashing as consumers ditch the ever-struggling, totally untrusted network after years of watching its anti-Trump bias shine through every aspect of its domestic reporting, particularly on cable.
In fact, things have gone from bad in 2021 to worse in 2022 at the network, which is seeing its cable business crumble and had to shut down its streaming service, CNN+, due to a complete lack of consumer interest and sky-high costs.
That’s led to a situation where CNN’s profits have plummeted, falling to the lowest level since 2016, collapsing with its ratings and the trust consumers of news place in it.
Such is what the New York Times reported in a recent report on CNN, saying:
Projections from S&P Global Market Intelligence say CNN’s profitability is on a pace to decline to $956.8 million this year. That would mark the first time since 2016 that the network had dipped below $1 billion in profit, according to three people familiar with its operations.
Two people familiar with CNN’s operations said the network’s initial 2022 profitability target was $1.1 billion, which Mr. Licht is on track to miss by more than $100 million.
Part of that is due to the CNN+ situation, so it’s not entirely Mr. Licht’s fault (CNN+ was before his time and he quickly shut it down), as the NYT also reported, adding:
another person familiar with the matter said that by the accounting of company executives, Mr. Licht was on track to meet a profitability target of roughly $950 million for the year, since the network’s initial budget didn’t account for losses associated with launching the CNN+ streaming service.
Regardless, even if the situation isn’t Mr. Licht’s fault, it’s still a problem for the company, which has collapsed to a profitability low point last seen over half a decade ago.
As a result, it’s having to cut expenses to the bone, even in regards to its reporting: CNN, for example, shockingly decided not to send a team to cover Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee due to the costs associated with that reporting, an incredible decision given CNN’s roots as one of the first global news networks and the reputation it garnered when it sent teams all the way to the Middle East during the First Gulf War, reporting as smart bombs struck nearby in Baghdad.
Further, the profitability and viewership problem is one that’s hitting CNN particularly hard, as the NYT also reported, saying:
Ratings are down from their Trump-era heights across cable news, but declines at CNN are particularly pronounced. The network has drawn an average of 639,000 people in prime time this quarter, according to data from Nielsen, a 27 percent decrease from a year ago. It trails MSNBC, which is down 23 percent in prime time during the same period, and Fox News, where viewership is up about 1 percent.
So, though it’s hitting the business generally, things are particularly bad at CNN.
CNN made a name for itself by reporting the actual news without editorializing overly much, as happens at leftist outlets like MSNBC or conservative outlets like this one, Fox, or Breitbart.
But, by becoming so anti-Trump, it shredded that reputation and thus its consumer base: few people want to watch, read, or listen to partisan news posing as “unbiased reporting.” Partisan news is fine, but that’s a different business model, one that CNN apparently hasn’t mastered and is suffering the consequences of drifting toward thanks to the “bad orange man.”
Time will tell if Mr. Licht can turn things around, but another recent report on his wanting to hire Stephen Colbert indicates that he has the same leftist outlook problem as former CEO Jeff Zucker.