CNN TV ad revenues plunge 39% year over year

CNN has seen its TV ad revenues drop off sharply this year in part due to plunging ratings.

MediaRadar, a New York-based firm that tracks advertising trends, said TV and digital revenues at the network fell nearly 40% year over year when measuring the first four months of 2023 vs. the same period in 2022. The firm estimated advertisers spent about $313 million from January through April of 2023 compared to $513 million from January to April of 2022.

This information was released by the firm after Warner Bros. Discovery dropped Chris Licht as chief of CNN following a tumultuous 13-month tenure. MediaRadar did not release comparable figures for other cable networks such as Fox News and MSNBC, but ratings have fallen this year for all three networks and part of that was attributable to a quieter news cycle in 2023 vs. that early 2022 period which included the start of the Ukraine war.

“Our data analysis suggests a significant downward trend in CNN’s ad revenue during Chris Licht’s tenure, reflecting substantial declines both in total spend and in the number of advertisers,” MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman said in a statement.

Even the number of advertisers dropped, from 2,700 to 2,100, with 29% of companies returning year over year.

CNN’s parent company does not break out its CNN revenue picture though Warner Bros. Discovery said overall ad spending at the company dropped 15% in the first quarter year over year. Advertising is only part of CNN’s revenue picture. The network also receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year from cable and satellite subscribers who pay a small portion of their cable bill to access the network.

S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates that CNN generated $892 million in profit in 2022, down from $1.08 billion in 2020. It expects that profit number to fall even more this year.

A CNN spokeswoman declined to comment.