News streaming service CNN+ launched just a month ago, promising traditional news programmes with a modern, lifestyle twist. However, it will now be closing its doors – making it the shortest-lived major streaming service so far.
The news follows the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery, which took place around two weeks ago. Allegedly, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, was opposed to CNN+ launching so close to the companies combining but was unable to voice his concerns due to legal issues.
Instead, CNN+-style programming will find a home on HBO Max, which is already set to undergo changes later this year with the
addition of Discovery+.
The new CEO of CNN, Chris Licht, gave the following statement on the merger: “In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service, which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings.”
The approach is similar to what MSNBC is doing with
Peacock – which is adding a series of
cable opinion-led shows to its library, something that would have been a cornerstone of CNN+.
CNN invested around $300 million into the streaming service, hiring numerous writers and producers, and assigning familiar faces of CNN – such as Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer – to multiple series. CNN+ also had several series with celebrities attached, including former NBA player Rex Chapman and actress Eva Longoria.
However, the streaming service didn’t attract huge audiences, only having around 10,000 users per day, according to the
CNBC. Just a few weeks before killing the service, CNN suspended marketing for the platform, making drawing in new subscribers much more difficult.
Variety stated that CNN executives were pleased with the initial launch and believed that the platform would be able to meet its first-year targets. Therefore, the platform cancellation has come as a shock to many employees of the former outlet.
Hundreds of new staff members are now at risk of losing their jobs. CNN has confirmed that they will have 90 days to explore other roles in the company, but these will no doubt be extremely competitive. Current subscribers will be refunded by CNN+ in due course.
Hannah Cowton is a Senior Staff Writer at Tech Advisor and Macworld, working across entertainment, consumer technology and lifestyle. Her interests and specialities lie in streaming services, film and television reviews and rumours, gaming, wearables and smart home products. She's also the creator of The London Geek, a geek culture and lifestyle blog.