CNN and the competition in Africa

CNN and the competition in Africa (July 19, 2012)

I know some of my more parochial colleagues can't get past the troubles CNN continues to have in its prime-time American operation.

And I am right up there in being dismayed by some of the moves management has made with Eliot Spitzer, Kathleen Parker, Erin Burnett and Piers Morgan.

But facts are facts, and CNN has a different business model than anybody else in the cable news business because of its overwhelming international infrastructure and reach.

And Thursday it got some more good news on that front with an audience measurement survey that shows its dominance among news channels in Africa. And this report comes on the heels of similar surveys from other continents. (See the press release below.)

Now I know it's hard to get past how badly, say, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly beats CNN's Anderson Cooper at 8 p.m. weeknights in the U.S.

But with this kind of international performance and the revenue it generates, the bad news for CNN/U.S. is not nearly as bad for the company as it would be for an operation like Fox that has nothing but its U.S. shows.

Africa is a pretty big place, and BBC World News, Sky News and Al Jazeera, the channels CNN beat in Africa, are pretty big operations. I'm impressed.

Here's the release:

CNN has significantly beaten its rivals in the latest EMS Africa survey, confirming its position as the single most watched international broadcaster on the continent – winning seven out of ten of the continent's key audiences across all platforms every month – according to results released today by Ipsos Synovate.

The news comes just after CNN was also named the number one international news channel in Europe (EMS Europe), the Middle East (EMS Middle East) and the Asia Pacific region (Pan-Asia Pacific Cross-Media survey or PAX).

CNN decisively outperforms every international news channel and entertainment and sports channel in monthly, weekly and daily reach. The network is also the number one international cross-platform commercial network.

At 70.3%, CNN's cross-platform monthly reach across TV, online and mobile combined streaks
ahead of rival networks BBC World News* (55.4%), Al Jazeera (46.7%), Sky News (43.4%) and Euronews (31.1%).

Through television alone, CNN reaches almost two-thirds of the EMS Africa population with a monthly reach of 64.7%, 29% higher that it's closest rival, BBC World News (50.2%).

At 51.6%, CNN's weekly TV reach outstrips BBC World News (37.7%), Al Jazeera English (30.5%), Sky News (28.0%) and CNBC Africa (9.1%)

At 29.2%, its daily TV reach is far ahead of BBC World News (17.7%), Al Jazeera English (15.3%), Sky News (9.8%) and CNBC Africa (3.1%)

CNN websites** are the leading international online brand in Africa with a monthly reach of (17.4%), more than double that of the network's nearest competitors Al Jazeera English (7.1%) and BBC.com (6.9%)

On mobile, CNN*** also outranks the competition, reaching 15.8% of respondents monthly against the BBC (10.8%), Al Jazeera English (6.2%) and Sky News (5.2%).

The brand continues to grow its television and online audiences. On TV, CNN records growth across monthly, weekly and daily reach while BBC World News, Sky News and CNBC Africa experience falling audience numbers. CNN online** enjoys growth of 30% in monthly reach.

"To reach almost a third of EMS respondents every day - far eclipsing all our rivals - is an achievement we're proud of. For CNN to growits audience in an increasingly crowded marketplace puts a tangible marker of appreciation on our journalism. The reach of our brand in Africa has never been stronger and we thank our viewers for their loyalty," says Tony Maddox, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of CNN International.

"We've been producing Africa-focussed programming for many years now, and the EMS audience clearly has an appetite for our content and is appreciative of our unique ability to deliver the biggest news stories from all corners of the world," he adds.