New York -- Time Warner Inc. made a full-court effort last
week to demonstrate that it is fully behind CNNfn.
But the media giant's brass were still mum about how much
increased distribution support the company plans to give the 12.5 million-subscriber
Last Monday, Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin was the
guest of honor as Street Sweep -- a market wrap-up show that airs on Cable News
Network and CNNfn -- began telecasting live from a new studio at the New York Stock
After the show, Levin, CNN News Group chairman Tom Johnson
and Shelby Coffey, the newly named president of CNN Business News and CNNfn, all addressed
a gathering of press and advertisers that had been invited to witness the new studio's
During the party, Levin wouldn't offer any specifics about
the kind of increased carriage Time Warner has promised CNNfn, the growth of which has
been painfully slow.
"Both its analog and digital distribution will
continue to rise," Levin said. "We're very much behind CNNfn. We're going to
give it more distribution."
But when asked how much more, Levin declined to comment.
That's very much in contrast to the scenario that played
out a year ago, when Time Warner became managing partner of Courtroom Television Network.
At that time, Time Warner president Richard Parsons was very specific about the increased
distribution Court TV co-owners Time Warner and Liberty Media Group, via
Tele-Communications Inc., had committed to the trial channel: 5 million additional
subscribers over the next five years.
When Coffey's appointment was made recently, Johnson said
Levin had assured him that CNNfn would get additional carriage. But he added, "I
don't know how much."
CNNfn's stalled distribution growth was one of the
frustrations that helped to fuel Lou Dobbs' ongoing conflicts with CNN executives about
the financial network. Dobbs left CNN in June.
During his address to the group at the NYSE, Johnson
described Levin as "the best friend of CNNfn." Said Levin, "We are going to
do everything to continue to grow and prosper."
CNN/U.S. president Rick Kaplan also attended Street
Sweep'skickoff at the NYSE studio.