CNN, Fox in intense battle for digital audience

CNN, Fox in intense battle for digital audience
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CNN’s audience development team is urging members of its digital staff to cover stories it was missing that Fox News’s digital unit was reporting, according to a Wednesday report.

The report from the Daily Beast comes as rivals CNN.com and FoxNews.com are battling for digital readers as both news organizations continue to commit additional resources to their respective online offerings. 

The Daily Beast report states that CNN’s “audience development team has begun highlighting the top daily stories people are searching for online in a widely seen company Slack messaging channel.”

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“The network has begun placing small fox emojis next to stories the right-leaning cable outlet covered online that CNN missed,” it said.

The story notes that CNN has not been assigning emojis next to stories from other major digital competitors in singling out FoxNews.com.  

“No other competing news outlet has gotten the same explicit highlighting—-a suggestion that network bosses occasionally want CNN to notice or emulate some of Fox’s successful online stories,” the report states.

CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic said in a statement provided to The Hill that analyzing competitors including Fox News is "an important exercise in order to best serve our  users."

"Like any modern newsroom, our team reviews and analyzes stories that are performing especially well from all of our competitors - that includes the New York Times, BBC and also Fox News," he said. "It’s an important exercise in order to best serve our users."

"Fox News has begun touting a digital growth story while publicly and aggressively targeting CNN so naturally we’re reviewing their editorial focus to assess what might be generating increased interest in their site. What we’ve determined is an alarming strategy I call the 'the daily bikini.'  In fact, they’ve published nearly 100 stories with 'bikini' in the headline over the past year," he continued.  
 
"That’s not journalism. It’s cheap. We would never to stoop to publishing garbage for clicks but there’s nothing wrong with our teams reviewing what our competitors are publishing," Dornic added.  

In a June press release, Fox News, using data provided by Comscore, showed Fox News Digital topped CNN.com in total views and total minutes in May. 

In the category of multi-platform total views among its competitive set, Fox News Digital delivered 1.6 billion total views. It also finished first in multi-platform minutes in amassing 4.1 billion total minutes, a 53 percent increase when compared with the same month in 2018. 

CNN.com still topped FOX News Digital in the category multi-platform unique audience, with the latter delivering 102 million unique visitors compared to CNN's 127 million. Fox News Digitial increased by 16 percent year-over-year in this category, while CNN increased by 1 percent since May 2018. 

Both FOX News Digital and CNN beat its competitors in multi-platform unique visitors, including NYTimes.com, which took in 89 million, WashingtonPost.com, which delivered 85 million, and NBCNews.com, with 72 million. 

“We are consistently number one in the ratings and now we are increasingly dominating the digital space as well,” Fox News Digital Editor-In-Chief Porter Berry said in March. “The quarterly milestone and March success proves that our investment in news and relentless focus on compelling storytelling has made FOX News an industry leader across all major platforms.”

This story was updated at 5:15 p.m.