Internet and TV Collide with CNNx

25 Jun 2014 - Elise DeVoe is Associate, Corporate Communications, Time Warner Inc.

By Elise DeVoe

CNNx is redefining the way people consume news from multiple devices, and early this summer all subscribers whose cable or satellite provider has a TV Everywhere agreement with the 24-hour-news network will have access to CNNx. Initially it's accessible on CNN.com and through the CNN iPad app, with plans to roll out more widely in the future.

We spoke with Rajin Persaud, Vice President of CNN Next Generation Business & Product Strategy, who is leading CNN's effort in creating new digital products that extend the broadcast television experience (like CNNx) about what it all means and the team leading the digital innovation.

Time Warner Blog: CNNx has been called revolutionary. Talk a little about the new app and how it reflects the changing ways news is consumed.

Rajin Persaud: CNNx is revolutionary in so many ways. A product like this for live television news has never been built before. CNNx is true convergence of the internet and live television by taking advantage of the internet and connected devices to create a seamless one-stop experience for consumers.

CNNx puts the user squarely in control of their television news without any effort on their part. Through this product, our viewers can watch the live experience, catch up on the news they’ve missed, and preview what is ahead in the broadcast. They now have a direct link into the CNN control rooms; they can experience in real-time when news changes throughout the day because the rundown is live and changes dynamically as news changes. As the internet has matured and WiFi has become ubiquitous, these developments have fostered an overwhelming sense of choice. We're embracing that notion by allowing the consumer to watch those stories they care about in a seamless way. The consumer no longer has to leave the television viewing experience to get more details or get the back story on what they are currently watching - we curate and provide additional content in real time to every story or show. This is pretty powerful.

Watch a video here for how CNNx works:

Let’s go behind the scenes for a minute. Tell us a little about the team that worked on this project.

CNNx represents a model of innovation for CNN that is being emulated across the organization, and benefited from unwavering executive support. The core team responsible for creating and delivering the product consisted of technical architecture, editorial, product management and program management. And this core team relied on the services of almost every technology team within Turner from broadcast engineering all the way to digital ad-serving and everything in between.   

In retrospect, this core team functioned much like a startup. We all wore many hats and stepped outside the boundaries of our traditional roles to take on whatever was necessary to get the job done in a collaborative and supportive environment.

Is the end result what you expected from the get-go or did CNNx evolve throughout the process?

The end result turned out to be more powerful than any of us imagined. Many of our business partners, customers and industry veterans are completely blown away but not surprised that CNN was able to deliver a game changing product like CNNx. Based on current usage patterns, consumers love the idea of picking which stories they want to watch through our “Network DVR.”

When and where is CNNx available?

CNNx is currently available on your iPad by downloading the CNN app from the Apple store and tapping on the WatchCNN icon. It’s also available on the web at CNN.com/CNNx. Early this summer, all subscribers whose cable or satellite provider has a TVE agreement with us - more than 85 million homes - will have access to CNNx.  

To you, what is the coolest thing about CNNx?

The coolest thing about CNNx is that consumers can watch what they want, when they want, where they want.