Klein on CNN: “More Popular Than the Partisan Rants That Permeate the Airwaves”

By SteveK 

TVNewser has obtained an internal memo sent today by CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein, in which he congratulates the network for their political coverage.

Klein notes the strong CNN wins during debates as well as primary coverage. There is no mention of non-special event programming ratings, where CNN has had trouble maintaining their big numbers from special political coverage.

“CNN is proving that with innovation, execution, and passion, the sky’s the limit,” Klein writes. “Our deep-seated commitment to independent coverage that is unbiased — without an agenda — is more powerful and popular than the partisan rants that permeate the airwaves.”

Klein also compliments the network’s technology as “cooler” than the competition, and the success of CNN to draw in 18-34 viewers, even though, “that’s not a main priority to us.”

Click continued to read the full memo…

To: CNN U.S. Staff
From: Jon Klein

Re: Winning Streak

In the era of instantaneous feedback, we have made a point not to obsess over minute-by-minute or daily ratings. However, after months of intense political coverage, this seems to be a good time to take stock of where we are and what trends have emerged.

Simply put, CNN has dominated the field. We have won every major political night in the ratings, including the key primary nights and debates. CNN has handily beaten our cable news competitors and, for the first time ever, also topped ABC News and CBS News in key hours on Super Tuesday among younger viewers.

CNN is proving that with innovation, execution, and passion, the sky’s the limit. Our deep-seated commitment to independent coverage that is unbiased – without an agenda – is more powerful and popular than the partisan rants that permeate the airwaves. To cite one small example, our unfiltered coverage of the candidates through Ballot Bowl has been not only an inventive approach to campaign coverage, but a signal to viewers that CNN is serious about covering issues and giving voters the information they need to make up their own minds about the candidates.

Boldly deploying new technology like the touch screen, our coverage has been, yes, much cooler than the competition’s – but more importantly more thorough and comprehensive. We can be fun and smart – and that combination is obviously connecting with our audience in a very big way.

We’re reaching diverse audiences: more than one third of the viewers of our enormously successful Super Tuesday coverage were African-American, Hispanic-American, or Asian-American – far more than our competitors and indisputably a decisive factor in our ratings win.

And we’re connecting with more younger viewers, those in the 18-34 year old demographic, than we ever have before. That’s not a main priority for us – and we’re pleased that many more 25-54 year-olds are watching as well – but that age cohort is an important cornerstone for our future and has been a driver of interest in the current election. One can’t help but think that our dynamic website, CNN.com, and the immensely popular CNN Politics corner of that site, have had an awful lot to do with our ability to connect with those viewers. We’ve gotten much better at tying our television coverage in with our web coverage, in a way that makes surfing while watching irresistible and rewarding.

With the primary season in full throttle for weeks now, it has been an exhausting time for many of you. But I hope it has been very fulfilling, too, and that you are all as proud of your hard work, and the undeniable results of it, as I am.

Below are listed some recent ratings highlights that you may not be aware of. As you savor the stellar results, please keep in mind that our real achievement goes far beyond the statistics. Together we are in the midst of setting a new standard for television news and creating a dynamic new relationship between CNN and our viewers. It is happening because we are collaborating, innovating, and executing better than ever. We’re welcoming fresh ideas and approaches – and therefore attracting new audiences. If we keep it up and extend those habits to all the journalism we do, we will have built a strong foundation for success that can last long after this election cycle is over.

Again, congratulations to everyone – we’re just getting started!

· CNN has aired the most-watched Democratic debate and the most-watched Republican debate of the season. In fact, CNN’s LA debate at the Kodak Theater set the record as the most watched primary debate in history, with 8.3 million viewers in its first airing. The second-most watched came just last Thursday in Austin, Texas, with the Clinton-Obama debate.

· To put this in historical context, CNN has aired all of the top eight primary debates in history in the P25-54demo. Six of those are from this election cycle!

· Our primary coverage continues to come in first place among cable news nets in total viewers and the demo, but even beating ABC and CBS among younger viewers on Super Tuesday.

· Our Ballot Bowl programming and CNN Election Center regularly posts double-digit ratings gains, while serving viewers crucial substantive information about this presidential race.

· In January, CNN was the top cable news network in 18-49 in prime time, and our 9p and 10p hours were the top rated in the key 25-54 demo. We are continuing in first place at 9p and 10pm in February as well.

· CNN Digital Network has set new records with its political coverage this election season. Not only is the site the #1 news and information website according to Nielsen Online, the CNN Political Ticker is the most popular political news site on the web. CNN.com has page views in the hundreds of millions for big primary nights and usage minutes topping 1.5 billion for the month of January. No other news network, cable or broadcast, has the strength and domination on the web that CNN does.

· CNN.com Super Tuesday Stats:

o 97 million Page Views, the #1 day since the site’s July 1, 2007 relaunch

o 11.9 million unique visits, the highest number since the site’s relaunch

o 2.7 million video streams served

o 600,000 live video streams from CNN.com Live