A staple of Israeli television since the inception of digital multi-channel broadcasts more than 20 years ago, CNN will soon no longer be seen in Israel. Satellite broadcaster YES announced Wednesday that it is dropping the station, due to high costs. No replacement station has yet been named. CNN broadcasts on YES will end on December 31.
CNN, once considered the standard in international cable news, has been losing ground in recent years to competitors, like Fox News (which is available in Israel). Like in the U.S., Fox News has higher ratings among YES customers than CNN does, even though Fox News is a “premium” channel that customers must pay for above the cost of their subscription.
Industry insiders said that the satellite broadcaster felt it was paying too much to feed CNN to local customers, a situation that came about because of the original contract Israeli broadcasters signed with CNN some two decades ago; the price started out high and remained so, they said. In a statement, YES said that it was examining replacement services, but that in the meantime customers who wanted to watch an international news service in English could choose from a wide variety of stations, including Fox News, Sky News, BBC World, Bloomberg, and English language news services from France, China, and Japan.
Last year, HOT, the cable television provider, dropped CNN over a similar contract dispute. HOT replaced CNN with the much more reasonably priced MSNBC.
In a statement, CNN said that "it is exploring the way we deliver our news in Israel. It’s worth noting, however, that with an important US election coming up, the continued dynamics of this region, and major global events that impact us all, the need for independent and objective journalism has never been greater. CNN recently grew its viewership across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to remain the #1 news channel by a mile.
"With that leadership comes a responsibility to viewers. For CNN, the consumer comes first and they will drive any discussions we have with operators before any other considerations," the CNN statement added.