Global TV news provider CNN is to launch a European version of its Website services in December, mirroring moves by other international online content providers to localise editorial content.
Announcing the launch, Harry Motro, who heads CNN Interactive, warned the drive by “global, trusted ‘news’ brands” threatens to undermine demand for the current generation of search engines and directory sites which now dominate Net traffic and advertising spend.
“More people are spending time on search engines than on sites,” he says.
“People will increasingly turn to sites run or planned by broadcasters like ESPN, the BBC and CNN because they will know what to expect and will get quality.”
CNN’s Atlanta-based Website, not part of the Time Warner media empire, performs well in the US and other overseas territories, attracting 14 million page views a week. Yet performance in Europe is patchy (see table), with use among UK surfers particularly low.
But Motro insists moves to develop more regional services and themed Internet products can allow CNN to compete with whatever the BBC, News International and other UK media operators are planning to offer on the Net.
“Our goal is not to be a domestic service. The majority of users are in the US, but it will not be like that for long,” he says.