CNN+ Will Shut Down A Mere Month After Launching

Sign up for insightful business news.

It’s been quite a week for the streaming industry. After Netflix reported its first net subscriber loss in a decade, it didn’t seem like the news could get any worse, until things got worse for the news.

On Thursday, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it’s shutting down CNN+, the current-affairs streaming arm of cable news stalwart CNN. The embarrassing about-face comes just weeks after the service launched. Its last day online will be April 30.

Broken Telephone Leads to Canceled Television

As of today, CNN+ is a mere 24 days old, yet its parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, is practically a baby by comparison. It was formed just two weeks ago, after WarnerMedia divested from AT&T and merged with Discovery. As it turns out, the merger drama may well have helped bring about CNN+’s swift demise.

CNN+ moved ahead at the behest of Jason Kilar, the former WarnerMedia CEO who until recently claimed the streaming service — with obviously huge ratings draws like, er, Jake Tapper’s Book Club — was beating expectations. At the same time, David Zaslav, the former Discovery CEO who took over Warner Bros. Discovery, thought it was a bad idea from the start, sources told Variety. Apparently, Zaslav was none too happy that Kilar had launched so soon after the merger, with development costs alone reaching $300 million. Unfortunately, Variety reported, Zaslav was barred from voicing his concerns to WarnerMedia management due to pre-merger legal restrictions. And so, the new boss ended up canceling CNN+ almost as soon as it started. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • CNN+ had roughly just 100,000 subscribers after two weeks, Variety reports, and Discovery executives thought the monthly $5.99 price tag was too much to ask for what ended up being a collection of soft public-affairs programming.
  • Because of CNN’s relationships with pay-TV distributors, CNN+ was limited in what it could show from its sister TV network. This pales in comparison to Fox News’ rival service Fox Nation, which has a million subscribers and comes with access to marquee broadcasts like Tucker Carlson Tonight.

At Least Something Works: On Thursday, AT&T’s final earnings disclosure with Warner properties included revealed that HBO and its HBO Max streaming service, now the property of Warner Bros. Discovery, added 3 million subscribers in the first three months of 2022, for a total of 74 million. Some CNN+ content will reportedly move to HBO Max — apparently because it has not yet underwhelmed enough viewers.

Analysis more
(Photo Credit: Zhang Kaiyv/Unsplash)

China’s Iron Fist: Geopolitical Tensions Make it Hard to do Business

(Photo Credit: Mark Duffel/Unsplash)

Under the Million Dollar Hood: A Look at the World of Luxury Vehicles

Recent News

PayPal wants to listen in

Google investigates the cloud

Apple’s cult of trust

European Governments Press FIFA for Women’s World Cup TV Rights