WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar apologized for saying coronavirus is “really good for [CNN] ratings” during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.
WarnerMedia is the parent company of CNN.
“It turns out that pandemic is a pretty big part of the news cycle, and that’s not going away anytime soon,” Kilar said, noting that things are different these days “from a political drama perspective,” but fortunately for CNN and WarnerMedia they still have the deadly virus to fall back on. He went on:
If you take a look at the ratings and the performance, it’s going well. And I think it’s going well because, A, the team at CNN is doing a fantastic job. And B, it turns out that the pandemic and the way that we can help inform and contextualize the pandemic, it turns out it’s really good for ratings.
The comments were first reported by Wall Street Journal media correspondent Joe Flint.
“It turns out the pandemic is a pretty big part of the news cycle and that’s not going away any time soon…It turns out it’s really good for ratings.” Jason Kilar on post-Trump CNN. Careful. That’s awful close to Moonves line that Trump may be bad for U.S. but he’s good for CBS.
— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) March 4, 2021
Kilar responded to Flint about an hour after his tweet, apologizing for his phrasing and saying he is eager for the pandemic to end.
I agree Joe. I would like nothing more than for this pandemic to be well behind us. I mean that with every fiber in my body. I wish I could go back and be more thoughtful about my communication.
— Jason Kilar (@jasonkilar) March 4, 2021
CNN and Fox News Channel split the prime time ratings title in February, with Fox News winning among total viewers and CNN taking first place among viewers 25-54, the key demographic most valued by advertisers. CNN’s ratings performance marked the network’s best-ever February.
Fox News Channel’s total audience of 2.473 million viewers in prime time led all cable news networks, followed by MSNBC (2.193 million viewers), and CNN (1.687 million viewers). In the key demo, CNN was first with 411,000 viewers, followed by FNC (365,000 viewers), and MSNBC (340,000 viewers).