The Huffington Post has a story on how CNN’s ratings have hit a near-rock-bottom 20-year-low in primetime. Apparently CNN drew an average of just 389,000 primetime viewers from April 30 to May 27 of 2012.
To show you how low that is, the best this video-blogger’s YouTube channel has done is 252,000 viewers in one day on YouTube, and that doesn’t count total Zennie62 video, blog, and content views on a daily basis – that number has went north of 350,000 for one day several times. That puts Zennie62 is competition with CNN, but this media outlet aside, the point is CNN’s low primetime television numbers are at Internet show consumption levels.
The simple reason is CNN has only one mildly compelling show, Anderson Cooper 360, and nothing else. I’m sorry, but Piers Morgan’s show is not cutting the mustard and certainly cutting the cheese. Erin Burnett is far too corporatist and GOP in her presentation to be considered compelling, and her classist rants about Occupy Wall Street in 2011 were shameful. On top of that, Anderson Cooper doesn’t appear exclusively on CNN any more, which has damaged CNN itself.
It looks like CNN made a weird deal to ‘share’ Cooper, and it’s not turned out well.
The answer to all of this? CNN iReport.
CNN iReport is the division that manages viewer-generated videos and blogs. At one point CNN had a process of showing people who made iReports deemed interesting in some way on its live programming. I assert CNN had then, and has now, the answer to its future ratings success. A one-hour show matching iReporters with commentary segments on the day’s news is the way to go, and where the iReporters submit videos up to three hours before the show starts that evening, then use Twitter and perhaps CNN’s own special website, to house audience reaction to what the videos say. People like to see other people they know, or who are considered like them, on television. It would be a away to really use the idea of audience engagement as the main part of the show content.
CNN has never done this; now it’s time to do so.