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 CNN.com 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 CNNfn.com, a financial news site, and AllPolitics.com, 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 CNN.com 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 CNN.com.

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 CNN.com, 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 CNN.com 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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Junior PHP Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Guru Careers: Front End Web Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: Our client help leading creative agencies ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot