CNN TV, Digital Ad Revenue Plunged 39% YOY Through April

Advertising spending in CNN’s national TV broadcasts and digital properties plunged 39% in this year’s first four months, to $312.6 million, from $515 million during the same period in 2022, according to MediaRadar. 

The advertising and insights platform sought to shed light on the brand’s advertising performance during the tenure of Chris Licht, who stepped down as its CEO yesterday, after 13 months in the post. Licht was announced as CEO in February 2022, and officially started in May.

Ad revenue dropped to $232.5 million in 2023’s first quarter — down 35% versus Q1 2022 per the analysis, based on a data sample spanning Jan. 1, 2022 through April 30, 2023.

Average monthly ad spend across CNN from January through April 2023 was $78 million, down from $128 million during the same period last year. 

CNN’s 2022 ad revenue was on the upswing until May, which saw an 18% month-over-month decline, to $126 million. Subsequent months saw MoM declines, with the exceptions of August and November, which saw increases of 22% and 23% MoM, respectively. 

The number of companies advertising in CNN’s media properties in 2023’s four months declined 23%, to 2,100, from 2,700 in 2022’s first four months. Just 29% of last year’s advertisers in the period have returned this year, with 1,900 making no investment in the brand’s media properties so far this year. 

Advertisers declined 27% YoY in January, 23% in March and 19% in April. 

In 2022’s first four months, 68 companies invested $2 million or more in CNN outlets, for a combined total of nearly $236 million. During the same period in 2023, only 17 companies — down 75% versus the year-ago period — invested at that level, for a total of $95 million, down 60% YoY. Major corporations such as Thumbtack, Apple, Cisco Systems and Walt Disney have all reduced their ad spend with CNN by more than 90% YoY.

“Our data analysis suggests a significant downward trend in CNN's ad revenue during Chris Licht's tenure, reflecting substantial declines both in total spend and in the number of advertisers,” summed up Todd Krizelman, MediaRadar’s CEO and co-founder.

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