Network: Ted's big adventure

Murdoch has one. Gates does, too. Now Turner has a premium online service. By Meg Carter

CNN, the 24-hour global television news network, has launched a premium online service, CNN Plus. It is the latest in a series of initiatives that CNN hopes will enhance its online presence; other plans include the introduction of local language content by early summer.

The aim is to grow the relevance of CNN's online service to different groups of users around the world, says Scott Woelfel, vice-president and editor-in-chief of CNN Interactive. "It won't be long before the use of online matches the number of cable-TV homes," he says. "People are doubling the time spent using the Internet each day."

According to a study published in November, US adults will spend 19 minutes a day online this year compared with a daily average of nine minutes in 1996. However, CNN also hopes better to serve users from other countries by working more closely with its 31 television news bureaux, 600 affiliated TV stations and regular roster of 3,500 journalists worldwide.

CNN Plus will act as an extension of the main Web site launched in August 1995, Woelfel explains. It is divided into five sections: community, consumer, news plus, resources and games. Community hosts a chat session each week day with other users, newsmakers and CNN correspondents, while the consumer section offers news and advice. News Plus contains audio- streamed two-minute reports of top stories from CNN Radio.

Resources is a current affairs database. A unique feature is a "Media Search" engine, Woelfel claims. It uses search and preview software designed by the software company Magnifi to locate video clips, sound clips and images from all CNN Interactive online services which also include, a financial news site, and, a US political news site run jointly with CNN's sister publication, Time magazine.

The games section includes Shockwave-based educational and topical games and a Java-based daily crossword.

While is marketed as a site for breaking news, CNN Plus will hold archive material and background comment aimed at families, students and "news junkies" use from home. Like other CNN sites, it will carry advertising.

CNN is breaking even online thanks to advertising revenue generated by its three sites. The company estimates its combined online services are now attracting 25 million separate page views each week. Yet over the longer term, Woelfel is convinced subscription will be the larger revenue earner. While it is initially available free of charge, CNN Plus has been developed as a subscription premium service, available for around $20 a month.

Making people pay will require the introduction of added-value features, Woelfel explains. Just last month, CNN Interactive launched Reservation Desk, an online travel-booking service in partnership with Internet Travel Network which is directly linked to the travel section within

Local content is an inevitable next step, he believes: "We are pre-empting what we think will be a long-term shift in demand." First up will be Svenska CNN, a joint venture with Telia InfoMedia, a Swedish telecommunications and information services company. An editorial office for the online service will open shortly in Gothenburg.

Svenska CNN will comprise daily news summaries and headlines in Swedish combined with images, audio clips and video. International news and features material will be balanced with local content and linked to, where users can access full-length stories in English.

"It will act as a blueprint for other local services planned around the world," Woelfel explains. CNN Interactive research shows Australia is the largest single source of online users from outside the US - accounting for just under 25 per cent. It is closely followed by Canada and the Netherlands, then Japan, Germany and the UK.

"Our longer-term plan is better to integrate our online services with the company's TV programming," he adds. "CNN TV can help drive Web use and vice versa." Following last year's Florida plane crash, TV coverage of the event cross-promoted which carried greater detail, including the full passenger list. Web pages on the breaking news site now carry updated TV news headlines and "live on CNN" flags to direct browsers to TV coverage as a major story breaks.

Woelfel hopes this will give CNN Interactive an edge over its major competitor, MSNBC. The joint venture between Microsoft and US broadcaster NBC has suffered a lack of fast-breaking, topical information content, he claims.

Integration with TV, however, doesn't just mean news TV. Or the Internet. The company recently joined forces with PointCast Network, the Internet news network that appears instantly on computer screens in the form of a screensaver. It also sends headline news round the clock to pagers,0 following a distribution deal with the US paging system PageNetn

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Financial Controller

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is a busy and varied role w...

Senior Business Development Manager

£60-70k fixed, double OTE uncapped: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Senior Bus...

Ad Operations Executive

30,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: My client is a global name within the ente...

Web Analytics Manager / Optimisation Manager

£50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Analytics Manager / Optimisation Manager ...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style