Steve Case Destroys CNN

he awful descent of CNN into the AOL quagmire provokes some backlash. I'm getting really pissed off about having to squint to see that teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy picture up in the right hand corner of my screen from twenty feet away.

Have you watched AOL's version of the news yet?

CNN is the only presently viable worldwide, all news, 24/7 channel on the air right now. I want my Osama updates regularly so I have no other alternative than the Internet (which, by the way, probably does a better job anyhow).

As things are now, you have this to look at on your TV:

  • 45% of the screen is "unavailable"- given over to print media:
    • The National Weather [print and little weather maps]
    • Sports News [football, baseball, basketball, amateur and pro]
    • Little "tidbits" about the latest (semi-stale) news
      Typed out in pieces which sometimes do and sometimes don't finish,
      i.e. you can't finish a sentence because the remainder just doesn't follow.
  • But they sure don't put the ads in that little space ... of course that's full screen. But before the screen goes full, the top right quadrant (which is all you normally see) goes all the way across and stretches the image ... then it expands to the bottom filling the screen with "hemorroid medication".
  • Imagine what this looks like on a 13" screen. You're watching a picture ... the actual TV part ... which is no more than 4x5 inches ... a postcard seen from 10 feet away. If I didn't have a 35" screen, I couldn't watch it at all.
  • Commentators continually telling you what's going to come on next --- "But first ...". And by the time they're done with the but first, you've forgotten what's to come. In fact, they spend 10 minutes of every hour telling you what's to come ... without getting right to the matter itself.


Now you know who's to blame for all this.

Mr. Steve Case

He's the one who cluttered the screen with useless information trying to be all things to all people. It looks just like an AOL screen. There is no escape except to turn the dial. But there is no significant competition to CNN. None has ever developed. Maybe now it will, since the service has so drastically deteriorated.

What should a proper service do?

Here are my guidelines:

  • Show full screen and nothing less than full screen. I don't need all that crap typed out at once and neither does anyone else.
  • Don't waste my time telling me what's coming. Just show and tell the news ... right now.
  • If you just have to show what's to come, use no more than 5% of the screen on the bottom to type what's coming up. As it's being discussed, scroll it off and show the next couple of items. But, hell, everybody who listens to CNN at all knows that the format normally rolls over every 15 minutes. That's how long they have to wait to see the latest sports score.
  • Tell the viewer how stale the "latest news" really is. Often things are reported that are not 15 minutes but may be several hours old. Don't pass yourself off as doing great and timely reporting when Yahoo's news is fresher on the Web.
  • Don't increase the sound volume of commercials. Anyone doing this pisses me off in the extreme.
  • Get rid of the "on camera comradery" between commentators. Their banter and personal assessments are of no interest to me.
  • Find a way to get Steve off the Case. His philosophy of forcing "what's good for 'em" down everbody's throat may pass on AOL, but it will drag CNN right down. It's viewers are more sophisticated and educated than the typical AOL subscriber. They don't need Steve's help.

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