CNN.com Tries To Convert Browsers To User

This story was written by Staci D. Kramer.
Even though CNN.com keeps users on its site longer than competitor MSNBC.com, more than half of CNN.com's visitors drop in to see one page and bounce right out, according to an incredibly long article about CNN.com in the Sunday New York Times. One goal for new GM K. C. Estenson: increase page viewsand ostensibly ad dollarsby lowering the bounce rate. Some more tidbits:

Money: According to the company, the Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) site has been profitable for eight years and is expected to "remain flush" during the ad recession because its expenses are lower. (The numbers aren't broken out from the cable programming group.) Estenson also expects digital to surpass cable income eventually somewhere between 2019 and 2029, give or take some time.  Like everyone else in the business, CNN is looking for more ways to boost revenue on the site this includes a new ad unit for CNN.com Live, which will offer "TV-style commercial breaks" during its wall-to-wall streaming of inauguration coverage Tuesday.

Competition: Estenson, who came from the entertainment side of Disney-ABC to succeed David Payne as general manager of CNN.com in September, says he focuses on the sites run by MSNBC, Yahoo News, AOL News and The New York Times. That list doesn't include top cable news net Fox News. As Brian Stelter points out, CNN.com and MSNBC.com vie for the top online news site slot with Nielsen giving the unique visitor lead to MSNBC.com for 2008 and the page view lead to CNN.com.

Integration: Separate from the cable side at the beginning, CNN.com evolved to equal and now integrated. Editor Alex Wellen tells Stelter integration is a "herculean" challenge. Still, CNN hasn't achieved total convergence across platforms.


By Staci D. Kramer
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