CNN+, the streaming service you probably never heard of, is going to shut down at the end of April 2022. I’m not certain what content it provided, but that doesn’t matter anymore.
CNN reported that CNN+, the streaming service that was hyped one of the most significant developments in the history of CNN, will shut down on April 30, just one month after it launched. The decision was made by new management after CNN’s former parent company, Warner Media, merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery.
According to CNN, David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, has said that he wants to house all of the company’s brands under one streaming service. Some CNN+ programming may eventually live on through that service. Apparently, hundreds of CNN+ staffers were notified of the decision on a meeting on Thursday afternoon.
What happened? Variety reported: The decision puts an abrupt end to an ambitious and aggressive venture that people familiar with the matter say rankled David Zaslav, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, from the start.
According to Variety, Zaslav was annoyedly the decision of Jason Kilar, the former CEO of WarnerMedia when it was owned by AT&T, to launch CNN+ just weeks before Discovery was set to take over operations. But he was unable to communicate with WarnerMedia management, owing to legal boundaries surrounding the merger process.
Variety also reported: Andrew Morse, the CNN executive vice president who oversees the newly-launched streaming-video outlet, as well as CNN’s digital and Spanish-language operations, was told of the decision ahead of time and is expected to depart after a period of transition. Alex MacCallum was named to oversee digital, and CNN+ employees will be paid for the next 90 days and be given opportunities to explore other positions around the company.
The New York Times reported that the abrupt demise of CNN+, as well as Netflix’s projection that it will lose two million more subscribers over the next three months, has raised questions about how many people are willing to pay for numerous streaming services, as well as how profitable these businesses can become in the next few years.
I think that is a very good point. People might happily pay for one streaming service, especially if that specific one includes a lot of content that they know they will enjoy. As an example, Disney + has a wide variety of content from various beloved franchises, as well as some of Disney’s movies. I don’t think most people want to pay for every streaming service that exists, even if it means missing out on some of what they could be watching.
Perhaps deciding to launch a streaming service, while CNN was about to become part of Warner Bros. Discovery, was not the best timing. Especially since there were a lot of tweets included the phrase: “I’ve never heard of CNN+” in them (along with a few variations of that same phrase), when the shutdown of CNN+ was announced.