CNN, which stands for Cable News Network, is an American television network specializing in news and current affairs broadcasting, with its headquarters located in Atlanta. Founded by businessman Ted Turner and American-Jewish journalist Reese Schonfeld, who served as the channel's first CEO, CNN made history when it launched in 1980 as the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage in the United States.
As of September 2018, CNN is owned by WarnerMedia, a subsidiary of AT&T, and boasts approximately 90 million cable subscribers (97.7% of cable households) in the United States. In 2019, CNN ranked third in cable news network viewership, trailing behind Fox News and MSNBC. Beyond North America, CNN International broadcasts in more than 212 countries and territories worldwide.
In Israel, CNN is available on YES channel 102, HOT channel 205, and Partner TV channel 81.
The channel commenced broadcasting on June 1, 1980, at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. Following Ted Turner's introduction, anchor David Walker and correspondent Lois Hart presented the channel's inaugural news broadcast. Bert Reinhardt, a senior vice president of the network, significantly bolstered the channel's initial workforce, including its first news editor, Bernard Shaw.
After its debut broadcast, CNN expanded its reach to various cable providers and satellite services, as well as online platforms. While its main headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia, CNN also operates important hubs in London and Hong Kong. In total, CNN has 42 bureaus around the world, including 11 in the United States, with the rest located in major cities worldwide.
One of these bureaus is situated in Jerusalem. Additionally, the network has seven production centers and broadcasts to over 900 affiliated local stations (which receive news and content through the CNN Newsource service) and several regional networks in foreign languages worldwide. The channel's success propelled its founder, Ted Turner, into the realm of media moguls and made him the largest shareholder in the media conglomerate Time Warner.
CNN2, a companion channel to CNN, was launched on January 1, 1982, and provided continuous 24-hour news coverage. Initially known as CNN Headline News and later as HLN, the channel focused primarily on live news coverage with additional interview programs during the evening hours.
In 1985, CNN expanded its coverage internationally with the launch of "CNN International," covering various global events and broadcasting in 212 countries. Its extensive live coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 contributed to the channel's popularity in the United States and around the world.
During the Gulf War in 1991, CNN provided intensive on-the-ground coverage in close cooperation with the U.S. military and government. CNN's Peter Arnett, for example, covered the war from Baghdad after other television crews had left, and this exclusive access earned CNN a reputation for live reporting from the field.
Another significant achievement was CNN's rapid broadcast at 8:49 AM, just three minutes after the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, making it the first news network to report on the event.
In August 1995, CNN launched its internet website, quickly becoming one of the most popular sites on the web.
In October 1996, Turner Broadcasting System, founded by Ted Turner, merged with Time Warner, forming one of the world's largest media conglomerates. In 2000, America Online (AOL) was also merged into the conglomerate.
In 2005, CNN reached over 88 million U.S. households and approximately 900,000 hotel rooms.
CNN's success led to the creation of additional news channels that followed a similar format, including BBC World Service and Fox News.
Specialized and Local Channels:
Over the years, CNN has launched spin-off networks in the United States and other countries. As of 2021, these channels include:
CNN also initiated television and internet ventures that are no longer operational, such as:
Media Streaming Service:
In the first quarter of 2022, CNN introduced its independent, subscription-based media streaming service called "+CNN."
Hosts and Programs:
Throughout its history, CNN has produced a diverse range of programs on various topics, including travel, culture, and the arts. Prominent programs and hosts associated with the channel include:
Activity in Israel:
CNN established its bureau in Jerusalem just three months after its launch in September 1980. The network signed an agreement with Jerusalem News Studios, which served as the base for its news broadcasts on Israel and the Middle East. CNN stationed several journalists and production staff in Jerusalem, and its offices expanded significantly during coverage of events such as the First Lebanon War and the First Intifada, with up to 200 initial employees, including the network's first news editor, Bernard Shaw.
In 2000, CNN announced plans to participate in a bid for a new dedicated news channel in Israel, alongside Ron Lauder and Jerusalem News Studios. However, the group ultimately did not proceed with the bid.
In 2012, CNN significantly reduced its activities in Israel.
In 2015, "Talit Communications," owned by producer Yehuda Talit, was appointed as CNN's representative in Israel.
In November 2019, the Israeli government and CNN announced a partnership to showcase Israeli initiatives benefiting African communities. During this campaign, CNN produced videos funded and supported by Israelis, highlighting various Israeli projects and initiatives on the African continent.
Broadcasting in Israel:
CNN's broadcasts in Israel began in 1989 following the legalization of cable television services. "Matav – Cable Systems Communications" was the first company to carry the channel. Subsequently, all cable providers established in Israel carried CNN, including the merged company HOT.
CNN's live coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 contributed to the channel's popularity in Israel, with real-time updates from the field. In late 2011, HOT announced that it would cease broadcasting CNN due to a financial dispute but later resumed carrying the channel in November 2016.
The channel has been available on YES TV and Lev HaLev (formerly Golden Channels) since their inception. In September 2012, YES announced the suspension of CNN broadcasts due to a financial disagreement but later resolved the issue and continued broadcasting the channel.
In February 1999, the cellular provider Partner Communications signed an agreement with CNN to provide subscribers with up-to-date news through GSM cellular technology, offering news updates, stock market information, sports updates, weather forecasts, and more on mobile phone screens. In June 2005, CNN signed an agreement with Partner Communications to broadcast the channel to third-generation (3G) subscribers.
In February 2008, Radio Haifa and CNN signed a cooperation agreement, with Radio Haifa providing news services to CNN and receiving reports from its correspondents around the world. Radio Haifa became the first radio station in the Middle East to enter into such an agreement with CNN.
From 2015 to 2019, the channel was broadcast on Cellcom TV.
Criticism of CNN includes claims of an anti-Israeli bias in its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For example, during Operation Protective Edge, American political commentator Ben Shapiro accused CNN of providing coverage skewed in favor of the Palestinian side in the conflict.