CNN is revamping its graphic look in an effort to makes its news updates easier for viewers to read and understand. The biggest change to CNN’s previous graphic presentation, which has been in place since 2004, is to replace the narrow scrolling news ticker that runs along the bottom of the screen with a wider “flipper” graphic that presents information one item at a time.
The flipper, which has been created with CNN’s existing Vizrt graphics technology, will make its debut on Monday morning at 6 a.m. ET with American Morning. A flipper will also be introduced Monday on sister network CNN Headline News.
Presenting static headlines one at a time will make the news more digestible for viewers than a moving ticker, says Bart Feder, SVP of current programming for CNN.
“It’s easier to read, understand and absorb the information,” says Feder.
As part of the flipper switch, CNN is also getting rid of the horizontal banner graphic that was placed above the scrolling ticker and indicated which story was being presented in the main video part of the TV screen, such as “Senate Kills Auto Bailout.” Those headlines, as well as the CNN logo and associated branding, such as “CNN=Politics,” will now be presented as small graphic overlays over the video. The main CNN logo will also now appear in the right bottom portion of the screen to both HD and SD viewers.
The information presented in the flipper graphic will alternate between the type of news headlines traditionally presented in the crawl and information related to the main story being presented on-screen. Headlines will be presented in the “update flipper” with white text on a black background, and they will refresh every five seconds. The “topical flipper” will present several lines of information related to the main video story with black text on a white background, and will cycle every 10 seconds.
The information presented in the flipper can either be driven by producers through their Avid iNews newsroom computer system or delivered in automated fashion using RSS feeds. The same type of flipper graphic has already been used successfully by CNN International since February 2006, and won’t require any changes to producers’ workflow.
The flipper will free up more space for the main video and will require less bandwidth in the transmission path than the scrolling ticker. And while CNN producers have been able to present a line of story-related information within the banner, the flipper will allow for more information and will allow it to be refreshed more quickly.
“We can present more real-time text related to the story, and it’s very clean and uncluttered,” says Feder.