A year ago, CNN added Zite, an iPad app that offers a personalized magazine-like experience for news consumers, to its digital product lineup. Since then, CNN continued to expand its digital footprint across platforms. CableFAX spoke with Alex Wellen, vp, video products at CNN Digital about making inroads with consumers in new areas while CNN’s digital audience continues to grow and its multiplatform presences deepens. By the way, the longtime CNN DCer recently welcomed a baby girl. Congrats to Alex!

What’s the key to delivering multiplatform video?

We want to make sure our video products work really well everywhere. That means we constantly evaluate service availability, measure application performance, check content integrity and measure perceived quality of video streams delivered to computers, smartphones and tablets. We started off with core platforms but as people started watching video on tablets and phones, we are seeing a lot of growth from mobile. There are also huge opportunities for Connected TV. [CNN’s mobile advances have been significant. CNN Digital averaged 19.4mln unique users each month in ’11, 60% more than its nearest competitor, Fox News Digital, according to Nielsen.]

What’s the plan for TV Everywhere going forward?

One of the real opportunities of TV Everywhere is live news. Live video on CNN.com has more than doubled since last year [11.2mln average monthly live streams in ’09 TD]. The number of live video is expected to continue to rise with our new video experience, which features an in-page video player across the site. We are also trying to get our primetime programs on VOD. 

How do you plan to better engage users?

An embedded video player on CNN.com allows consumers to easily share and post their favorite CNN video clip on a social networking or blog site. We are also looking at customized video channels. We are getting serious with the idea of creating “playlists.” A playlist is like the precursor to a channel. It’s almost like a channel, depending on how you customize it.

Any challenges going forward?

How to align content from devices is a challenge. Part of it is content management. Another issue is offering information and services without distracting or overwhelming users. How much is too much? Our usability team is looking at these issues.
 

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