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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Bewkes’

Media Moguls Meal: Jeff Bewkes And Roger Ailes Grab Lunch

The Wall Street Journal has a gossipy item this afternoon, reporting that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes grabbed lunch earlier this year.

Bewkes is looking for a successor to Jim Walton at CNN, who will be stepping aside at the end of this year. Ailes meanwhile has a contract of his own coming up for renewal next year.

The WSJ notes that the lunch was purely social, and that Bewkes has no plans to hire Ailes. But that didn’t stop the News Corp. newspaper from writing the item.

CNN Hits 20-Year Ratings Low in Primetime

It’s been a challenging week in the ratings for just about any network not named NBC, but for CNN, last week was especially rough in the ratings department as the network experienced another 20-year low in primetime. Between 8-11pmET CNN averaged 307,000 Total Viewers / 86,000 A25-54 viewers.

At 9pmET, “Piers Morgan Tonight” drew 314,000 viewers with 81,000 in the demographic. The “Anderson Cooper 360″ re-air drew 259,000 Total Viewers and 97,000 A25-54 viewers at 10pmET. The ratings for Morgan’s program and the 10pmET edition of Cooper’s program marked 20-year lows for the network in their respective time slots.

Just last week, on an earnings call, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes acknowledged the networks’ struggles saying “fixing” CNN was a top priority.

We’ll have the full cable ranker from last week later today.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes: ‘Fixing’ CNN Is A Top Priority

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes led his company’s quarterly earnings call this morning, and he had blunt words for CNN. Bewkes began the call by focusing on Turner Broadcasting’s results, praising TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network for their strong growth, before adding “the exception this quarter was CNN.”

“To be clear, we are not satisfied with CNN’s ratings performance, and we are focused on fixing it,” Bewkes added. CNN announced late last week that the longtime president of CNN International, Jim Walton, would be leaving the company at the end of the year.

In the question and answer portion of the call, Bewkes was asked what the company was planning to do to raise CNN’s ratings.

“I think as we all know, it is a great brand,” Bewkes said, touting the channel’s domestic cume numbers (still number one in cable news), as well as its international and digital performance.

“We are going to do a better job putting on programming that will hold viewers,” Bewkes said. “We believe there is very strong demand for objective, comprehensive, non-partisan coverage, but we need to do it in a very compelling, more engaging way than we have been doing of late. That is what we are going to focus on next.”
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CNN Worldwide Chief Jim Walton To Step Down

BREAKING: CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton says he will step down from his post at the end of the year. Walton oversees all of CNN’s properties, including CNN/U.S., CNN International, HLN and CNN Digital.

In a note to staff this morning, Walton said that the network needs some fresh thinking at the top.

“CNN needs new thinking.  That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.  And I’m ready for a change.  I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.”

Walton’s full note is after the jump.

CNN has faced ratings struggles over the last few years at its flagship network, CNN/U.S.. While its digital and international units have grown, CNN/U.S. has not seen the same success.

Turner Broadcasting chairman Phil Kent will lead the charge for Walton’s successor.

In a statement, Kent said:

“Jim is the leader we all aspire to be: Smart and steady, tough and fair, business-savvy and respected by his team, and with a track record of great judgment when it matters most.  His vision has modernized and globalized our legacy news brand, enhanced CNN’s journalistic standing, positioned it at the forefront of multi-platform branded news content and challenged the organization to think bigger, reach further and do better.  I am honored to work alongside him and proud to call him my friend.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement:

When Jim Walton assumed the presidency of CNN in 2003, it was underperforming and earnings were in serious decline.  Since then, he and CNN have tripled earnings, doubled margin and delivered annual growth of 15 percent.  In his nearly 31 years of uninterrupted and distinguished service to CNN, Jim has been instrumental in growing the business into the financial powerhouse it has become, while establishing the brand as the worldwide leader for television news.  I respect him personally and professionally and support the decision he and Phil Kent have reached.

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Following Ratings Stumble, CNN Plots Revised Course

“There will be changes.”

It was broadcast upfront week, and amid the chaos and the talk of CBS’s schedule and the fate of “30 Rock,” the discussion had shifted to CNN. A media buyer for one of the top firms told me that in a conversation with a senior executive at Time Warner, there was an expectation that CNN would be tweaking its programming, an effort to combat ratings fatigue.

In a terse statement earlier this month, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that he and others at the company were “clearly not satisfied” with CNN’s situation, and promised that action would be taken to rectify it.

That situation–at least in the primetime ratings–is grim. Last week the channel had its lowest weekly primetime in total viewers in at least 20 years, and it did not do much better in the adults 25-54 demo that cable news actually sells against. May sweeps and the NBA playoffs probably had something to do with that, but sweeps aren’t enough to explain a 20-year low. Unless an unexpected news event happens, it will likely end up being another rough month for CNN ratings-wise when the final numbers come in next Tuesday.

“Obviously this is an indictment of their lineup, it is not working,” says Brad Adgate, senior VP of research at Horizon Media.

Adgate, who used to work in the research department at CNN and Turner,  says that for a political year ratings across cable news have been relatively flat. CNN saw ratings boosts earlier this year, when there were debates and primaries, but since then things have quieted down. TV viewers that are interested in the day-to-day political scuffles are almost by definition going to be partisan, and there are cable news channels tailored just for them.

“It was the first news network, it does have a great reputation and a great global brand name for the casual news viewer, but those aren’t the people who are going to watch debt news on a regular basis,” Adgate says. “The news is still the star at CNN and it isn’t necessarily the star at other cable news networks.”

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CNN’s Next Step: ‘Come up with a plan to restore momentum’ Following April Ratings Low

(l-r) Jim Walton, Dick Parsons and Phil Kent

The Wall Street Journal‘s Keach Hagey looks at CNN’s ratings woes, and provides some new context and information relating to the news channel. Among the revelations: Former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons allegedly wanted CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton removed from his post.

Also: the current leadership of Time Warner, led by CEO Jeff Bewkes, are not taking CNN’s struggles lying down.

Time Warner’s current CEO, Jeff Bewkes, is “clearly not satisfied” with how CNN is doing and is pushing management of both CNN and Turner “to come up with a plan to restore momentum” of CNN, said a Time Warner spokesman.

“I’ve been here for a long time. And I enjoy what I do, and I compete and I plan to keep doing it for a while,” Mr. Walton said in an interview.

Read the entire WSJ item here.

The New York TimesBrian Stelter has more information, including that CNN wants to add an 11 PM program, but that existing programming will likely take top priority.

Time Warner Prepares to Leave Time Warner Center… Eventually

Time Warner will likely leave its corporate headquarters at Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle over the next few years. While rumored for a long time, a profile of Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes by the New York TimesAmy Chozik sheds some light on the decision.

Time Warner, one of New York City’s largest commercial tenants, is now studying how to consolidate most of its four million square feet of office space. That probably means finding a new headquarters in a less expensive part of Manhattan and vacating the Time Warner Center, the Time & Life building at Rockefeller Center and many of its remaining 13 New York-area buildings. The company estimated that cutting back on its real estate footprint could save as much as $150 million a year.

The real estate moves are part of a larger effort to slim down a company that many investors say they believe became bloated during the acquisition frenzy of the last decade, when media companies raced to acquire expensive Internet companies.

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In His Memoir, CNN EVP Mark Whitaker Turns a Journalistic Eye on Himself

TVNewser stopped by a book party last night for CNN EVP Mark Whitaker, held at the Upper West Side apartment of HBO Video President Henry McGee and his wife, Celia. (HBO and CNN are both owned by Time Warner.) Whitaker’s family memoir, My Long Trip Home, will be released Tuesday.

In a room packed with colleagues and friends — people he called his “journalistic families” from stints at Newsweek, NBC and CNN — Whitaker (pictured here with his wife, Alexis Gelber) chronicled the experience of writing the memoir, which tells the story of his parents, an interracial couple who met in the 1950s.

“What really got me going and kept me going was not so much writing from memory, which I started to do at the beginning,” he said. “But when I realized that there were a lot of gaps in the story that needed to be filled, and I started to report. And it was really the reporting of the story that I became obsessed with.”

See who else was at the party after the jump.

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CNN, HLN Now Available For Streaming Online… If You Are a Paying Cable Customer

CNN Worldwide has announced that it is making CNN/U.S. and HLN available for streaming on computers, iPads and smartphones… provided you are a paying cable customer.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has been one of the strongest advocates for the so-called “TV Everywhere” concept, which is attempting to let customers that pay for cable service to access those channels from whatever screen they wish. With entertainment programming, on-demand is the name of the game, but for news and information, live is a necessity.

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Maria Bartiromo becomes first female journalist inducted into Cable Hall of Fame

CNBC's Maria Bartiromo presented the Cable Hall of Fame award by Larry Satkowiak, CEO of The Cable Center. (Photo: Oscar Einzig)

The Cable Show, the trade show for the National Cable Television Association, is underway this week in Chicago. And last night at the gala event of the week, the Cable Hall of Fame, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo became the first female journalist inducted into the Hall. (CNN’s Bernard Shaw and trade publisher Paul Maxwell are also members.)

We talked with the Money Honey this morning between panels she’s moderating at the trade show. She’ll also be anchoring “Closing Bell” from Wrigley Field this afternoon, because tonight the Brooklyn native and Yankees fan is throwing out the first pitch as the Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers. “I’ve been going to Central Park to practice,” Bartiromo tells TVNewser. “It’s 60 feet! I just want to get it over the plate.”

TVNewser: Congratulations. I know it’s a busy day for you. What an honor. The Hall of Fame is mostly made up of cable innovators and executives. How did a journalist get on that list?

Maria Bartiromo: Thanks Chris. They tell me I’m the first female journalist on the list and I’m in awe of that. When they asked me to join this illustrious group that includes John Malone, Ted Turner, and Jeff Bewkes, I started to think about my career. Where has the time gone? I started my career as an intern at CNN covering live events, producing under Lou Dobbs. That was 20 years ago and now it’s been 19 years at CNBC covering the financial ups and downs. I feel incredibly proud — proud to be part of this industry.

TVNewser: Who are some of the people behind your success?

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