CNN launches consultancy unit, CNN Reach

“We can’t just be media companies anymore” – CNN

Looks like even media owner, CNN wants a piece of the consultancy game. The media owner has created a new consultancy unit, called CNN Reach, based out of its London and Singapore offices.

Goal? To help clients plan and create campaign content; advise on and execute distribution and media buying both on and off its own platforms; and offer first-, second- and third-party audience targeting across CNN and its parent company Turner’s portfolio.

CNN International already has a branded content studio, which now accounts for 60 percent of its revenue.

But to maintain growth, the media owner felt it must widen its services capabilities.

Previously, CNN International hadn’t had a centralized unit to manage campaigns from conception to execution, as well as audience targeting analysis and media planning.

Launching with only four people and led by London-based Leo Urushibata, the company’s director of content optimisation, CNN Reach will be a small player to start with.

They have plans to grow that headcount, though the media owner wouldn’t reveal by how many.

“It’s imperative we continue to evolve the [business] model like this,” said Rob Bradley, VP of digital commercial strategy and revenue at CNN International Commercial.

“We can’t just be media companies anymore, and this is one step toward that. If you look at the rise of the management consultancies in this space and who they are hiring, it’s people from media owners and media agencies because we’re well-placed to offer these services,” added Rob.

The team at CNN Reach will also draw on CNN editorial and staff members who have experience testing content for distribution channels tested by CNN editorial and branded content teams, whether across social apps or voice-activated devices like Alexa, to advise clients on what works and what doesn’t, according to Bradley.

However Rob insisted the media owner would not directly compete with agencies in an already crowded market. “CNN Reach will bring in new clients and new incremental revenue,” he said.

“The kind of insights we’ll give to clients and agencies will bring us much closer to them. The aim is to give them real business value beyond just delivering the message.

“The agency will have a view across what else the client is doing and across how what they’re doing with us compares to their competitors.

It’s different to what some media owners are saying, which is that they’re eating agency business. This is just as much for agencies as it is for brands direct.”

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