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The Model-C of Cable News?

Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Alex Sherman looks at the CNN model in a story titled: “Has CNN’s All-News Strategy Become Old News?”

“Our bread and butter is in-depth coverage of breaking news,” CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker tells Sherman. “We have faith that will help us with the ratings.” But as Sherman points out, “When the big news stories subside, CNN slumps back down to third place in the ratings,” behind Fox News and MSNBC. Another negative:

Tragedy and advertising make for uncomfortable bedfellows. Airlines, for example, have provisions that prevent news programs from running their ads during coverage of plane crashes. Breaking news of hostage situations is also frequently uninterrupted, which means CNN’s highest ratings can occur at times when no ads are run at all, [ad buyer, Lyle] Schwartz says. “The consumer would not like being interrupted with advertising when there’s something important or urgent going on,” he says. “It’s sometimes inappropriate to have commercials.”

What Fox News perfected long ago, and MSNBC only more recently, is summed up best by media analyst Ken Doctor.

“It’s so easy to get news now. When you build an hour around a person, that’s more effective than building around news programming itself.”

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