Jeff Zucker Says CNN’s Streaming Transition Will ‘Affect the Bottom Line in the Short Run’

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Former CNN chief Jeff Zucker took the stage at Yahoo’s Finance Invest Conference, in which he warned that his former network will have to carefully balance their transition into streaming, saying “It’s going to be difficult.”

Zucker, who now runs media investment fund RedBird IMI, was asked if CNN was ever to be put up for sale, whether he would be interested in an acquisition.

“Well that piece that said that we were trying to buy it,” Zucker said referring to a Variety article claiming that he spent the last year priming for an acquisition. “There was absolutely no truth to that whatsoever.”

When asked if he would ever be interested, Zucker said “We’re certainly not looking at it. It’s not for sale.”

“It’s not something that we’re actively thinking about pursuing,” the former CNN chief said. “So there was no truth in any way whatsoever to that Variety report this summer.”

However, Zucker said if one day CNN was up for sale, he would certainly look at it “like any other great asset.”

“That’s not to say yes or no, just to say it’s a great asset,” Zucker continued.

Then he was asked how CNN is managing its efforts to launch into the streaming realm with CNN Max, to which he said “You have to meet the consumer where they are.”

Zucker noted that “the linear aspect,” of CNN will maintain its importance, but “They’re going to have to balance that transition and it’s going to be difficult.”

“We saw that was going to take some time and we were conscious of that,” Zucker reflected. “I’m sure that they’ve got a very good team in place there. They’ll have to navigate that. It’s obviously going to affect the bottom line in the short run. But that’s what’s going to have to happen as all of these companies make that transition.”

“It’s inevitable, they need to do it,” Zucker said of investing in streaming services for news networks.

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