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CNN is moving into the lifestyle and food programming arena,
and the network is adding new advertisers in the process.
The move is part of a new strategy CNN is pursuing in
reaction to its faltering ratings in primetime.
"Broadening the scope of news means providing more travel,
health, wellness and lifestyle programming that quite honestly we've done very
well within the past, so we're going back to our roots a little bit," says Greg
D'Alba, president of CNN News Networks and Turner Digital ad sales and
The strategy is meant to make CNN "essential every day, not
just when there's breaking news and not just when we're in a political season,"
D'Alba says. "As we go to market with these strategies, we're looking for
bigger deals and agencies to recognize us and provide options for any brand across
this entire roster of news."
One of the first shows in the new vein is Parts Unknown,
starring bad-boy chef Anthony Bourdain, whose show had been on the Travel
Channel, owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, the leader in lifestyle
Food is a natural avenue for CNN, D'Alba says. "Food takes
us to more places within more cultures than most competitors are capable of
providing," he says.
The new programming is already attracting ad dollars in new
MillerCoors, a big advertiser on other Turner networks but
not on CNN, signed as a launch sponsor of Parts Unknown; BMW also signed
on as a sponsor of Bourdain's show. Similarly, CNN Films is attracting
non-traditional sponsors. Procter & Gamble, for example, is sponsoring the
film Girl Rising.
D'Alba expects the lifestyle programming to win back viewers
who left news to watch other nonfiction-based content.
"You look at upscale, affluent-reaching programs
across the board that are non-news based, we're going to draw more of those
consumers," D'Alba says.