New York -- CNN is preparing a major overhaul of its digital
properties including a completely redesigned web site that will be compatible
across desktop, tablet, and mobile platforms and the addition of a live online feed
of its TV network.
"The future of CNN is as much about digital as it is about
television, if not more," said CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker in a
presentation to reporters at the network's New York headquarters on Wednesday.
"We are really not going to care in the long run where people are getting their
news and information from as long as they're getting it from CNN, and it's not
necessarily going to be from a television screen."
On Wednesday, CNN.com launched a box on its homepage that
streams live programming from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. The online TV feed, the
first for a network, will air without audio or an ad load unless a user clicks
on the feed and authenticates through their cable provider. CNN's TV Everywhere
agreements with its distributors limit the feed to that time window, except in
"We have breaking news carve-outs in our cable and satellite
deals with affiliates. Jeff has the ability to call that up if we need to,"
said KC Estenson, senior VP and general manger of CNN.com. "We need to do it
sparingly because those contracts are pretty clear about what is defined as
The live programming is one feature of a completely
redesigned CNN site that will launch in public beta on Sept. 30 and rollout
globally in November in the first major overhaul of the network's digital
properties in more than a decade. CNN has poured $15 million into revamping its
digital infrastructure this year with a responsive design that will work across
every device. Where story selection, placement and headlines now vary from desktop
to mobile, the new site will automatically push identical content on every
The new design will also include a new color palette that
will automatically change with the seriousness of the site's lead story -- for
more subdued news, it will be blue, moving to shades of red (CNN's brand color)
for urgent, breaking stories. News will also be designed to be more shareable. Currently,
70% of CNN's traffic comes from its homepage, with 30% of its
stories driving 90% of traffic. The network sees an opportunity to
improve referrals from social media sites and better highlight the other 70% of stories with an improved navigation bar that allows users to follow
"Over time we can start to personalize the information
that's getting to you. The grand vision here is that at some point we can
dynamically publish the site for the individual," said Estenson, pointing to
CNN's acquisition of the personalized news app Zite back in 2011. "This is the
very early innings of us heading down that path."