Accuracy in Media

After more than a year of declining ratings and being pummeled by its competition, CNN finally received some good news this week when the latest EMS Africa survey, which tracks viewership across seven African nations, revealed that CNN, especially CNN International, is the top news brand on the continent. And they did so by beating its English-language competitors BBC World News and Al Jazeera English by a wide margin.

The EMS Africa survey tracks viewership in South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda, and then only the wealthiest residents, as they are the people most likely to have cable or satellite television.

Tony Maddox, Executive Vice President of CNN International, was obviously delighted at the results.

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 grow its 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.

The results, however, shouldn’t come as a big surprise as CNN has proven that it is a major news force internationally. Similar results to the African survey have occurred in the Middle East, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions, despite the increased competition in those parts of the world.

While the results give CNN something to brag about for a day or so, it doesn’t solve the long-term challenges the network faces with its U.S. operations. Here, CNN is still struggling and in need of a complete overhaul if it is really going to try and compete with Fox News and MSNBC.

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