In a wide ranging interview with Andy Serwer, at Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm TECH conference, CNN president Jeff Zucker said that CNN will be “digital first” going forward.
Zucker was responding to Serwer’s question on digital platforms:
I think that’s the whole future of CNN, to be honest with you. I mean, to us, it doesn’t matter where people access CNN.
You know, if you go back to the Boston bombings, more people learned about what happened in Boston from CNN than any other source in the world. And that’s because they watched it on CNN. They watched it on CNN International around the world, and they accessed it through CNN.com or CNN Mobile or any of our digital assets.
And I think that really is the future of CNN, is [that] we’re not going to care what screen you’re watching CNN on, as long as there’s a CNN red logo on whatever asset you’re accessing. And to us, mobile is probably the most important part of our future, but digital as a whole is where we’re concentrating everything.
We are integrating digital and our newsgathering efforts to make it one, as it should be. I mean, these organizations grew up separately and there was CNN that — you, obviously, have been through this as well.
It’s going to be digital first for CNN going forward. And that is as important a part of our strategy as anything.
And CNN has the figures to prove it, according to Zucker:
…We looked at what happened yesterday, and I just got the digital numbers. And they were extraordinary. We had more than 12 million unique visitors to CNN.com yesterday. We had more than 85 million page views. We had more than five million video starts. And every one of those numbers is up some 40 percent over the same day a year ago.
The use of mobile is definitely exploding as evidenced by the numbers Zucker cited. But can he translate those numbers into profits?
It is notoriously difficult for news organizations to make money off their digital properties. Even with CNN’s dominance in this area, it isn’t a guarantee of financial success.