Ratings expectations not high for CNN mags

Kaplan says patience will govern strategy

NEW YORK — CNN has conservative ratings expectations for newsmagazine series “CNN NewsStand,” a joint venture with sister company Time Inc. which launches June 7.

Although Richard Kaplan, president of CNN/U.S., said that the main reason for creating the newsmagazines was “to produce appointment viewing,” he added it will take time for the new shows to increase CNN viewership.

“We are very patient,” said Kaplan, speaking at a news conference Wednesday at the Time Life Building.

CNN’s ad sales staff has been selling the three new mags – “NewsStand: CNN and Time,” “NewsStand: CNN and Fortune” and “NewsStand: CNN and Entertainment Weekly” – at a 0.6 rating, the same rating CNN currently averages in the 10 p.m. timeslot in which “CNN NewsStand” will run.

“We don’t want to over-promise,” said Larry Goodman, president of CNN sales and marketing.

“Impact,” a CNN newsmag that the cable network produces with the editorial staff of Time magazine, averaged a 0.9 rating in 1997.

Synergy and cooperation

Like “Impact” and CNN/SI, the network’s joint venture with Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated, “CNN NewsStand” is another example of synergy between divisions of Time Warner. CNN sources said that much of the success (or failure) of “NewsStand” will be determined by how well CNN staffers and Time Inc. publication editors work together.

“NewsStand: CNN and Time,” which launches the enterprise June 7, will air weekly on Sundays and Mondays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT); “NewsStand: CNN and Fortune” begins June 10 and airs weekly on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.; “NewsStand: CNN and Entertainment Weekly” begins June 11 and airs weekly on Thursdays.

It is CNN’s goal to turn other Time Inc. publications into newsmagazines so the cable news channel can run “NewsStand” seven nights a week, said Pat Mitchell, president of Time Inc.-CNN Prods.