CNN.com in Review

After losing ground in the dot.com news wars to competitors, CNN.com is conducting a first-time review for a media and creative account worth $25 million.
A client source confirmed there are six agencies in the review, including McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C., and Leagas Delaney, San Francisco. The four remaining agencies are all based in New York: Moss/Dragoti, which already handles the CNN TV brand; M&C Saatchi; Y&R 2.1, the interactive unit of Young & Rubicam; and Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG.
Three agencies made presentations two weeks ago, and three more will present this week, the client source said.
“That’s a great list of agencies in the review,” said McKinney creative director David Baldwin when told about the contenders. “They’re all good creative agencies and we’re excited to be included on that list and in the game.”
Agency sources said they received a 35-page brief from the New York-based client, stating that monthly usage of rival sites such as Yahoo, MSN and Excite have all increased by at least 30 percent from November 1998 to October 1999. CNN.com’s usage rose 7 percent. In the past two months, MSNBC surpassed CNN.com in user-base size, the brief said.
Sources said there is timetable for naming finalists, but a campaign is expected to break in May and run through December. Ads will emphasize CNN.com’s “uniquely relevant delivery of election coverage” and its portal-like capabilities for e-mail, e-commerce and news, the brief states. –with T. W. Sieber