Starting Monday (Feb. 1), news junkies will find “Go There” on CNN’s owned-and-operated outlets, including the news network’s website and mobile apps. With the move, CNN is ending the partnership to distribute original shows on Facebook Watch.
To be clear, CNN will maintain a presence on Facebook (facebook.com/cnn), where it will continue to post clips and story links to its page (which currently has 37.8 million followers).
But CNN is moving “Go There” off Facebook Watch to maximize its ability to marshal resources to maximize viewership and let it sell advertising, said Courtney Coupe, SVP of CNN Digital Productions. Facebook Watch, which funded “Go There,” controlled the ad inventory for the short-form show that runs about 10 minutes in length.
“We used Facebook Watch as an amazing incubator, and it was always our intention to bring that to our own platforms,” Coupe said.
CNN did the same thing with “Anderson Cooper: Full Circle,” a companion show to the “AC 360” linear show, back in 2019 after two years.
Since “Go There” premiered in July 2019, the show has produced episodes in 55 countries and featured over 120 CNN contributors and correspondents. It will continue to be a single-topic daily news show built for the consumers who want for “color” about on-the-ground stories covering topics like climate, race and identity, women’s issues, and immigration — content that a segment of viewers are hungry for, Coupe said.
“What I’m excited about is engaging our audience on our own platforms. We learned what our audience wants from our talent, how they value our expertise,” Coupe said. “We are gaining the ability to serve our users on-platform and take advantage of that loyalty, which we’ve proven with ‘AC Full Circle.'”
Under the Facebook deal, CNN has had the rights to put “Go There” on its platforms 24 hours after premiering on Facebook Watch. On Facebook, “Go There” averaged about 20 seconds of watch time per episode. By contrast, the show has averaged about 5 minutes on CNN’s O&O destinations. “We care more about engagement than reach,” said Coupe.
In a statement, Shelley Venus, Facebook’s director of news strategy, said: “News in Watch is about investing in partners like CNN, helping them test and learn what works long-term for audiences both on Facebook and beyond. CNN has once again demonstrated that they can build shows that perform well on mobile and continue to expand them on their own platforms.”
“Go There” had one of the most-viewed videos of all time on Facebook: CNN correspondent David Culver’s report in January 2020 from Wuhan, China, which was the epicenter of the COVID-19 global outbreak at the time. To date, it has registered more than 210 million views (users who watched at least one minute of the episode). Culver is returning to Wuhan one year later in a dispatch to be featured on “Go There” on CNN platforms this week.
Both “Go There” and “Anderson Cooper Full Circle” are overseen by CNN executive producer Cullen Daly.
CNN doesn’t break out viewing metrics for its individual original digital series, although Coupe said that more than 500,000 people have signed up to get alerts when “AC Full Circle” goes live on CNN Digital. Overall, from January-November 2020, CNN reached 218 million average monthly unique visitors worldwide, per Comscore. The next closest competitor was BBC with 191 million average monthly unique visitors, followed by Yahoo News (155 million), the New York Times (154 million), Daily Mail (143 million) and Fox News (125 million).