Goodbye CNNMoney and say hello to CNN Business. CNNMoney has rebranded to CNN Business – shifting away from personal finance and now geared more toward the business of tomorrow, technology, and investing. CNN Business aims to be the gateway to the future – covering the companies, personalities, and innovations driving business forward for those seeking to learn, profit, and lead.
Turner chatted with Jason Farkas, VP and General Manager – CNN Business, about what’s behind the change, how this all came together behind the scenes, and what the big plans are for the next six months and beyond.
Turner: Can you tell me more about the genesis of this rebranding? Why the change now?
Jason Farkas: There’s a major generational business story that's unfolding right before our eyes, which is the fact that every single company around the planet is in some way, shape, or form becoming a tech company. All of their potential growth, all of their incumbent challenges, all of their ability to compete really stems from their ability to tech-ify themselves somehow because the tech industry is very hungry to disrupt every other industry around it.
The five biggest companies in the world are tech companies. There are 87 unicorns – meaning companies with a valuation of more than a billion dollars – operating in San Francisco right now. It's not just Uber and Airbnb. The sheer size of these companies is staggering. They are, in real time, grappling with the impacts of what they are releasing into the marketplace. It doesn’t matter if you work in manufacturing or the automobile industry or the retail industry or the media industry – you’re looking for ways you can leverage technology to stay competitive or watching your back so that someone else's technology isn’t going to outpace yours.
This has become the dominant business narrative of our era, and CNN Business is here to cover it.
T: What new strategy are you taking with CNN Business and how does it differ from CNN Money?
JF: We want to draw in a new and unique audience to CNN. Our goal is to be the home for thought leadership around innovation and disruption. We are chronicling the biggest financial story of our time: The rapid pace of change emanating from the tech sector and disrupting every corner of the global economy. We intend to cover this space with authority and introduce new products that will help us do that.
T: What new content and anchors or correspondents can the audience expect to see on launch day?
JF: One of the initiatives we're proudest of is a multi-part reporting series called "The United States of Amazon." This is not just a single piece of content – this is a multi-angular view of the company that's probably changing American life and business more than any other right now. Amazon is in so many different and dispersed verticals – retail, publishing, media, grocery, home systems, AI – the company is just sprawling. So, we’ll be exploring their keys to success and the ways they view the world.
Secondly, we’re launching an opinion column called “Perspectives,” which we've never had on CNNMoney, written by newsmakers from the tech world. For example, Melinda Gates and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will be among our first contributors.
Thirdly, we’re launching a vertical called "Success,” which will explore career growth, viewership strategy, and – at a high level – converting wealth into happiness.
The final piece of the puzzle will be an investment in long-form enterprise journalism, by launching a series called "Centerpiece.” It will be an in-depth examination of tech companies, personalities, and CEOs – the biggest newsmakers in the arena. We’ll be putting their strategies and their ethics under the microscope.
Beyond launch, we’ll have “Risk Takers.” It will be like our 30 under 30 – an annual list comprised by our editorial team to recognize and reward business leaders who made a bold move that’s changed the industry forever.
As far as anchors and correspondents, you’ll see some of the best from CNN’s tech and media beats, including Julia Chatterley, Laurie Segall, Richard Quest, Christine Romans, and Brian Stelter, plus Rachel Crane, Oliver Darcy, Samuel Burke and Donie O’Sullivan.
T: Describe how the launch of CNN Business came together behind the scenes… What teams were involved to get this off the ground?
JF: I've rarely seen the entire organization come together behind a single initiative like the way that they've done for CNN Business.
We have partnered with teams across the company and leveraged the strength of all of CNN to amplify our content – from design and video production to social and marketing, the team that came up with CNN’s “Facts First” campaign – and are now looking at a much more cross-functional, resource-sharing version of CNN Business.
T: Can you tell me more about your new San Francisco bureau?
JF: We’ll have a team of eight operating out of a mini bureau in San Francisco, which is, as we know, at the forefront of technology. We’re sharing space with the Bleacher Report team – part of the Turner family – and will have all the infrastructure and support Turner already has in that location.
T: What are your big hopes and dreams for the next six months? The first year?
JF: Well, I would love to get an interview with Jeff Bezos. List that among the goals.
But beyond that, our goal is to explain the motivations, the psychology, and the strategies that are driving the major tech firms forward and also help our audience understand the changes that are coming to the economy and to their portfolios. I think if we do that and we get there within a year, we'll have achieved a lot.