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Tue Mar 21 2006 19:01:37 ET

The GALLUP polling company has dropped CNN as its outlet for electronic distribution.

GALLUP, CNN and USA TODAY have been polling partners since 1992.

"CNN has far fewer viewers than it did in the past, and we feel that our brand was getting lost and diluted," GALLUP claimed in an internal memo, obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.

CNN tells TVNEWSER.COM, which first reported the split: "We want to make it clear that the decision to not renew our polling arrangement had to do with GALLUP's desire to produce their own broadcasts and not about CNN viewership figures. In fact, GALLUP had negotiated with us for four months in an effort to extend the partnership."

**EXCLUSIVE**The full memo, by Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO of GALLUP:

We have chosen "not" to renew our contract with CNN.

We have had a great partnership with CNN but it is not the right alignment for our future. The longtime partnership has been very helpful to The Gallup Poll as it put us "back big" fifteen years ago when our famous Gallup Poll had lost most of its national coverage. Our CNN partnership helped us make a great comeback. We had a great run as we just cut our 4000th segment this week.

The Gallup Poll will go on with more polling than ever, but with new distribution channels.

WHY. 1) CNN has far fewer viewers than it did in the past and we feel that our brand was getting lost and diluted combined with the CNN brand. We have only about 200 thousand viewers during our CNN segments.

2) We are creating our own e-broadcasting programs and we don't want to be married to one broadcast network. We don't want to move to another network like CBS or Fox but rather become our own network. We cannot do this while married to CNN.

3) By dissolving our partnership with CNN we believe that Frank and other Gallup analysts will be seen as more independent so they will be more likely to be invited on a wide variety of television shows rather than primarily linked to CNN. We believe with this new found independence, we will get covered by more broadcast media because we are not the poll of their competitor.

4) We have enthusiastically renewed our print partner, USA Today. They have arguably the best readership of any newspaper in the world. It has approximately 2.4 mil subscriptions and 7.5 mil readers per day. Far more than the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. And it has substantial international coverage for being a US paper. We also believe that print is a much needed way to present our polls for those interested in studying a chart or reading analysis.

In the big picture, USA Today supplies more than 10x the users per day than CNN. USA Today is our 800lb paperboy. Or the primary distributor of The Gallup Poll. We want to have two primary distribution channels. 1) USA Today and 2) e-Gallup News. We will go on any regular TV show for guest appearances because it will help build our e-viewership. We also will be featured on AOL's front page for news. The AOL e-distribution will likely add more eyeballs per day than all of CNN.

This is a big move for us. We have to boldly change and invent new futures for Gallup or we will not survive the hurricane of competition coming from all directions in everything we do. I personally proposed the deal to Ted Turner about fifteen years ago while backstage at a "People's Choice" event and then again at their headquarters in Atlanta. It has been a great partnership and one that has meant a lot to this CEO. One in which we have all been very proud and one where we delivered our very best work every week. We have offered to help CNN find a new polling partner and to be as helpful as we can during this transition.



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