Jeff Zucker, With Cane, On How a CNN Startup Brought in Millions of New Viewers

By Chris Ariens 

“This is not about CNN. This is not about news,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said at the start of the first-ever advertiser presentation for CNN startup Great Big Story.

Zucker, who was getting around with a cane following knee surgery last month, called the six-month-old digital platform, “the first company that we have launched in 35 years that does not boast those three little red letters known around the world.”

At today’s NewFront, as the Interactive Advertising Bureau calls these presentations, Zucker kept his remarks short and let the GBS videos do the talking. Event planners set up “video campfires” to show off some of GBS’s uplifting, beautifully shot, short-form videos.


Andrew Morse, who is head of CNN newsgathering as well as CNN Digital, tells TVNewser he spends at least one day a week at GBS, which is housed not at Time Warner Center with the rest of CNN New York, but in an office downtown. About 40 people produce and distribute 3 to 5 new videos each day. About 400 videos filmed in 28 countries are now available for viewing — and sponsoring, which was the point of today’s event.

While CNN and GBS have separate offices, identities, and missions, Zucker couldn’t resist touting the cable network’s own great big story: “CNN as you know has owned this election cycle, and Great Big Story plans to own the zeitgeist after it’s over,” he boasted.