Jan 17, 2024 - Business

Alex MacCallum returns to CNN

Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Alex MacCallum, the digital news product veteran known for transforming the New York Times' subscription business and helping to launch CNN+, is re-joining CNN as executive vice president of digital products and services.

Why it matters: Her return to the network represents a new era for CNN following a chaotic few years of product and management changes.

  • She will report to the company's new CEO, Mark Thompson.
  • CNN named Thompson, MacCallum's former boss at The Times, to lead the network as its new worldwide chairman and CEO in August.

Details: "MacCallum has deep experience in building products that bring world class journalism and storytelling to life," CNN said in a statement announcing her hiring.

  • Puck News first reported that Thompson was eyeing MacCallum for a top digital role.

Catch up quick: MacCallum first joined CNN in 2021 as general manager of CNN+, the company's now-defunct subscription streaming service, and global head of product for CNN WorldWide.

  • She exited the company, along with a slew of other digital news executives, after CNN's parent Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) shuttered CNN+.
  • MacCallum was named chief revenue officer of The Washington Post last year, overseeing its subscription and advertising businesses.
  • Prior to joining CNN, she led the development of The New York Times' Cooking and Games subscription products.

The big picture: Thompson has been tasked with transforming CNN's business for the digital era, and MacCallum's hiring will be a key part of that effort.

  • While CNN's linear TV business is still massively profitable, the network's TV revenues face terminal decline as cord-cutting increases.
  • Its digital trajectory, for now, is tied to the streaming efforts of Warner Bros. Discovery. CNN currently has a 24-hour streaming presence on WBD's streaming service, Max, where it's working to make money from streaming ads.
  • But the network's digital monetization strategy is otherwise lacking. The firm sells advertising against its heavily trafficked website, but it doesn't sell premium subscription products.

What's next: MacCallum begins at CNN on March 4 and will be based out of New York.

Disclosure: The author of this story is a paid contributor for CNN.

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