CNN? Not on CNN

Does a network by any other name smell just as sweet? I’m wondering this as I notice that CNN has adopted an unusual tack in its show “American Morning.”

Pay attention, and you’ll notice that anchors John Roberts and Kiran Chetry don’t mention the words “CNN” when the network returns from a commercial break. Instead, they say, “Welcome back to the most news in the morning,” or “You’re watching the most news in the morning.”

Hmm. Well, in fairness, I e-mailed the network about it on 10/23/08. Now 48 hours later, I still have no response. So I deem it OK to espouse some theories as to why a major cable network won’t mention its own name at key segments.

First, it’s election time. Over the years, CNN has acquired a reputation as being liberal and very pro-Democratic. You know, the “Clinton News Network.” Uttering those words can be a deterrent to a conservative, pro-Republican viewer who has a choice of a half-dozen or so major network shows to watch in that time slot, including that of archrival Fox News Channel.

Remember the 1972 presidential election? Incumbent Richard Nixon was very unpopular, so his campaign labeled itself as the “Committee to Re-Elect the President,” omitting his name. Could be a similar syndrome at work.

In fairness, CNN is now among a smorgasbord of channels.  With more and more viewers getting digital cable, the familiar CNN logo is splashed across the bottom of the screen for channel surfers. So perhaps the network assumes viewers will KNOW they are watching CNN, and therefore is giving them additional info. Making a distinction between oneself and the competition is always a plus. (Updated 6/30/09: Another blogger’s theory is that this is part of a “house of brands” strategy.)

End of theories, at least for the moment. But in an era when all media must adapt rapidly to competition, CNN’s tactic is worth noting.

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About Steve Burns

I live in the Atlanta area. I also lived for many years in Southern California. I'm into mainstream media, social media, sports, business and politics. I worked for AOL's Patch, but this is my personal blog. I'm on Twitter (@bsteve76), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. See ya 'round!
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