The featured speaker was Andy Mitchell, vice president of digital & development marketing at CNN. He is directly responsible for trade and consumer marketing of CNN's digital assets. Mitchell was instrumental in developing CNN.com's partnership with Facebook for the site's coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Mitchell discussed how the 2008 Presidential election extended CNN's brand. It was a a trial and error approach. An unsuccessful early foray into Facebook during the election later led to an initiative that broke the all-time Internet record for simultaneous live video streams served online for the inauguration.
The use of social media was initially met with skepticism from management who believed it would diminish the brand. But the numbers have proven the effectiveness of YouTube, Facebook and now Twitter to drive audience engagement.
CNN's successful use of Facebook is well documented and has positioned CNN as a technology leader, even if, as Mitchell concedes, other networks can take advantage of the same tools. So it appears the very technologies that are undermining the news industry are the same ones that may drive its revival. This may require news organizations to cede some control and enter into new markets like selling customized T-shirts emblazoned with cnn.com headlines.
The idea of turning news into something you wear has been met with praise and skepticism, but keeping news on a lofty pedestal my only serve to undermine its value and viability.
Let me get back to you.
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