CNN Might Put Its Videos Behind a Paywall As It Explores Future Digital Strategies





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CNN is looking for ways to take its digital offerings to the next level.

Earlier this week, the veteran cable news network’s new CEO, Mark Thompson, laid out plans in a staff memo. Thompson’s goals include combining all of CNN’s newsgathering operations into one unit that will serve the network’s TV, streaming, and digital platforms, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Another unit will be assembled to explore growth and monetization opportunities like subscription formats.

During Thompson’s successful tenure at The New York Times, where he was credited with transforming the newspaper into a “digital powerhouse,” the publication launched subscription products around travel and health. For CNN, Thompson plans to start with news, the “central proposition that the CNN brand brings to mind.”

Thompson also told the Journal that he wants to find a better way to show video news on phones. The CEO said he wants to tap into formats popular with younger consumers to create a “high quality, differentiated product” that people will pay for.

“For many people today, the smartphone is a more important device for consuming news than the TV,” Thompson said in the memo. “Their news prime time is in the morning, not the evening.”

This comes as cord cutting has significantly disrupted the media industry over the last few years. While CNN’s linear TV service still makes money, the company’s business model and main revenue source isn’t as stable as it once was.

Over the years, CNN has had to navigate a political minefield, a constant stream of misinformation to correct, programming shakeups, the failure of CNN+, as well as mass layoffs, including the ousting of previous CEOs and popular names like anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon.

It remains to be seen how the year will play out for CNN. For now, Thompson’s plans are flexible.

“This stuff takes time,” he told the Journal.

CNN had no further comment.

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