CNN’s Quest for the truth resonates with Aussie audiences

CNN has reported impressive audience growth across TV and digital in Australia in the past year. CNNMoney editor-at-large Richard Quest tells MCN there has never been a more important time for reputable news outlets.

News media brands should take an impartial position in covering US president Donald Trump, irrespective of whether his behaviour is sometimes “unconscionable”.

That’s the verdict of CNNMoney editor-at-large Richard Quest and one of the reasons why the international news service has been a largely successful and brand safe environment for brands in Australia and abroad.

Quest recently spoke to MCN on the sidelines of a lunch at the Sydney Opera House, where he provided insights into what it was like to cover US politics in this ‘fake news’ era.

“You have to cover it [news] in a way that the public sees what is happening,” he said. “My boss once said to me, ‘the unacceptable must not become acceptable. Cover the story in front of you and don’t worry about anything else’.”

It is this deeply ingrained impartiality and political neutrality that has made CNN the trusted news source it is today.

Quest believes there has never been a better time for reputable news media brands to stand tall and report with vigilance.

And, it seems, Australian audiences are responding.

According to an IPSOS survey, CNN TV grew its monthly TV reach of affluent audiences by 25% and business decision makers by 32% in the 2017 calendar year.

CNN TV was the number one international news channel for affluent audiences aged 25 to 64, the survey found.

CNN’s digital audiences have also seen solid growth with CNNMoney up 19% year-on-year and CNN Travel up 8%.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” added Quest. “Everyone who has been saying ‘television is dead’ – well, for starters, we’re not, and everybody who wants a digital campaign wants a television component.

“What we’re starting to see is that television component is becoming more important than that digital component. We are extremely successful – we are making money out of news by quality coverage and being the biggest on the block.”

The appeal for brands

Australia is CNN’s third-largest market for digital audiences outside of the US and Canada and one of its more important markets for TV.

CNN APAC senior VP of advertising sales, Sunita Rajan, told MCN audiences flock to CNN for its ‘middle-of-the-road’ political coverage, general news and, increasingly, popular verticals like CNNMoney and CNN Travel.

“With everything that is going on at the moment at a global level as well as in Australia, brands are leaning towards much more trusted, authentic environments,” Rajan said.

“We have definitely seen that trend at CNN.”

CNN tends to attract advertisers and commercial partners in finance, luxury goods, travel and hospitality, technology and automotive that are looking for brand positioning and brand awareness.

“If you look at advertisers in this category, they are not just buying audiences at scale or reach, they are buying the context of the environment,” Rajan explained.

“When you think about the brand safe environment, the authentic nature of the content we have and the quality of the video storytelling, those three things are what makes CNN very attractive for brands.”

Talking about Great Big Story which is one of CNN’s very successful digital initiatives, Rajan said, “In less than three years Great Big Story has over 10 million fans with 2.7 billion multiplatform video views, featuring more than 1,900 original stories from 100 countries. We are planning to do a lot more stories on Australia, so watch this space.”

For opportunities across CNN, contact your MCN representative on 02 9209 6300 to find out more.