By David Patton
CNN’s Jim Walton announced he will leave his post as president of the network at the end of the year. In the article on TVNewser, he notes that the network has “faced ratings struggles over the last few years at its flagship network, CNN/U.S. While its digital and international units have grown …”
For a huge media organization, the ratings struggle may be a business issue, but it shouldn’t have a significant impact on the influence of CNN the brand. CNN, like all media companies, should look at all the platforms as buckets, and it should be focused on creating the water (content) to fill them no matter what size or shape.
I’m looking forward to experiencing the 2012 Summer Olympics on a range of platforms, including smartphone, PC, iPad, Android tablet, Windows 8 tablet, Xbox, live TV, DVR and on-demand (Yes, I’m fortunate to have a lot of gizmos even if I’m just borrowing some of them). Sometimes I will watch a few things live as appointment viewing, but mostly it will be full events on-demand or, most often, recaps and highlights. Over the last few years my consumption of news — delivered as video, audio and text — has evolved in the same fashion. That should inform CNN as it charts its future course. The staff should be creating content that is easily reshaped to whatever platform on which it is published.
But CNN and other media companies shouldn’t be the only ones looking at content and distribution like water and buckets. Companies looking to sell to consumers or enterprises need to be creating content that can be easily adapted to any platform. Like newsrooms, marketing needs to evolve from being focused on filling a specific platform to creating compelling content that fits in any bucket.