CNN looks to new pillars and digital to drive audience and lure brands

The battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for supremacy in the US will be used as platform for global news brand CNN to grow its offer in the Australian market in coming months with new pillars and an increased focus on native opportunities for brands.

Sunita RajanAnd the network has also highlighted a successful dalliance with MCN in Australia, selling it’s inventory programmatically, freeing its own sales force up to deliver more connected and engaged solutions for advertisers across its platforms, not just through broadcast.

Speaking with Mumbrella in Sydney this week, Sunita Rajan, vice president for Asia Pacific advertising and sales, said  the company was now in a  position to place renewed efforts into the local market, riding on the back of interest in the US election.

“What we have seen and something we have understood is there is a huge interest in this market for the US stories and that is across, news, current affairs, business, travel, and this year being a banner year (with the US election),” Rajan said.

“We were very clearly going to focus on the US election, it was oure moment to be able to recover our position, particularly in the US market in terms of how we rank in terms of our competitors. If there was any year we could do it, it was now.”

Building content beyond breaking news is one of the keys to the success of the push, she said.

“We have a whole team globally in CNN production that produces all of the feature content that you see and that sits across platforms, across screens and not just on television.

“For me and my team in Asia Pacific it’s about taking multi-platform proposition to clients, across television, across all screens and being a little platform agnostic because the two things we hang our hat on is content and audiences.

“With digital you can continue the storytelling for long time.”

Embracing digital is a big part of the future push into Australia and she said there is already a strong foundation to build from .

“In the last year there has been a big shift in the way we do business largely because CNN digital has taken off. There are some astonishing figures,” she said.

“It’s probably a well kept secret that we have 1.8m unique users in this market and Australia is third in ranking globally in our traffic numbers.

“In this market, in this context, Australia is the perfect market to be able to offer to clients, whether that’s programmatic trading which we do through MCN, or content partnerships or native storytelling, this market is ripe for that.

“Our business has had a huge growth in brand count and local digital inventory sales which includes both programmatic and content led solutions/partnerships with ad sales in Australia directly handled by MCN.”

“We have enough inventory we can trade programmatically as well as direct.”

New pillars for CNN will include a bigger push into travel and a fresh approach to native that will allow it to sit alongside editorial but clearly labeled as advertising content.

“Brands want to tell their story beyond the 30-second spot and be on a display ada and when they work with trusted brands like CNN they would like to have CNN help tell their story and that is what the native storytelling is,” she said.

The network has dubbed the new approach “Native 2.4” working with native specialist Sharethrough.

Rajan said she was looking for a continued growth story for CNN across the region but with a strong focus on the Australian market and across platforms.


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