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CNN touts web stats, impartiality at upfront

Cable channel spins ratings decrease to advertisers

CNN execs made the case to advertisers Tuesday that there’s still a need for the ratings-challenged news cabler.

Opening the cabler’s upfront at Rose Hall in Time Warner Center, CNN Worldwide prexy Jim Walton touted the channel as “the only credible nonpartisan voice left” on the dial.

Under pressure to spin CNN’s declining ratings to ad buyers, ad sales and marketing exec veep Greg D’Alba told the aud that “media consumption is changing” and that “the complete story (isn’t) being told.”

Accordingly, execs blended their nets’ TV viewership numbers with high-traffic Web stats during the presentation, saying that CNN reaches “127 million consumers.”

“If you take CNN domestic, we don’t just reach thousands more viewers than our cable news competitors, we reach millions more viewers than our competitors,” Walton said.

Tongue firmly in cheek, Walton also thanked media attendees for “all the great coverage we’ve had in the last few months,” to laughs from the aud. Walton also said that CNN’s U.S. network accounts for less than 10% of the CNN Worldwide’s total revenue.

The execs also emphasized the “nonpartisan news” mantra. Competish MSNBC and Fox News were never mentioned, but it was hard to miss the veiled swipes from D’Alba and CNN U.S. prexy Jon Klein.

“There’s more news on more screens than ever before, but we believe there’s less journalism,” D’Alba said.

The net staged a panel of CNN anchors and contributors holding forth on the events of the day — for CNN’s politics panel, pundits included anchor Wolf Blitzer and King, with Anderson Cooper moderating. Among commentators on the HLN panel were Nancy Grace and Joy Behar, who held forth on Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock.

The online part of the presentation led with the unveil of a revamped CNN.com entertainment section, edited by former OK! editor-in-chief Katie Caperton. CNN announced Caperton’s hire Tuesday.

Aside from a new docu slate, no new programming was announced.

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