New CNN Studio To Produce Content For Advertisers

Business / Editorial

Advertising has been around for a good long time and it’s likely not going anywhere anytime soon. While we’re pretty much stuck with advertising, there is at least another truth about advertising: advertising has had to morph and adjust to new technologies and consumer habits. In the beginning of the modern tech era there was radio, followed by TV which held a long reign until the Internet showed up. Now it’s a blended combination of TV, the Internet, and services like Hulu that advertisers are looking to catch your eye. A new CNN studio is gearing itself up to actually produce “news-like” content for advertisers. Sounds an awful lot like advertising presented as news, and sounds a little shady to me. It seems advertisers want branded content to have the feel of an editorial more than a commercial but that seems awfully… unethical.

About a dozen staffers (made up of journalists, filmmakers and designers) will help launch the new unit, called Courageous. The division will fashion and distribute “branded content” across CNN’s fleet of properties, from TV to the Web and Snapchat. But the idea now is to work more closely with companies to highlight things that may have news value, such as the building of a manufacturing plant or a philanthropic effort, according to Otto Bell, the lead of the studio and former creative director at OgilvyEntertainment.

“This isn’t about confusing editorial with advertising,” said Dan Riess, executive vice president of integrated marketing and branded content at Turner. “This is about telling advertisers’ stories — telling similar stories but clearly labeling that and differentiating that.”

Telling advertisers stories? From what I can tell their stories would be told how they want them told since they are paying for their stories to be told, if that makes sense. This just feels a lot like faux news, or better yet, fake news. Is CNN hurting that bad for revenue that they need to create a whole new studio dedicated to producing news focused advertising?

What do you think about CNN’s latest move? Does this hurt their credibility as a serious news source? Are you going to trust their reporting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  Source: Wall Street Journal
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