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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.”

Despite CNN’s ratings struggles, Bewkes said that he does not think it will affect Time Warner’s carriage negotiations, saying “I think there is tremendous upside on the news side.”

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