NEW YORK (AP), CNN has shut down its CNN + streaming platform less than a month following its launch. This is a remarkable flare-up for a venture that attracted stars such as Alison Roman, Chris Wallace, and Alison Roman. It looks set to attract a new generation to news consumption.
It began on March 29, just before CNN was purchased by new corporate parents. The Warner Bros.’ new leaders. Quickly, the Discovery brothers announced that CNN + was an incomprehensible idea.
The subscription-based company will cease operations at the end of April. Officials confirmed that some programs and staff from CNN + would still be broadcast on the TV network, but they would be terminated. Andrew Morse, CNN +’s head, has resigned.
Chris Licht, the new CNN CEO, said that consumers are looking for “simplicity as well as comprehensive service” rather than stand-alone products in a memo sent to employees Thursday. Discovery has suggested previously that it would like to combine its separate streaming services (including Discovery + and HBO Max) into one app.
Thursday’s City Hall meeting saw officials stating that the service’s inability present live news was a critical failure. CNN + couldn’t stream CNN TV Network because it was bound by contracts with satellite and cable companies.
JB Perrette of Discovery’s streaming services said that it’s “a little like subscribing for the New York Times but without the New York Times.”
Pert stated that Discovery learned from its attempt to launch a news service in Poland and from experiences with paid streaming services like Fox Nation that CNN + couldn’t expect to reach nearly a million subscribers. Unlike CNN + which charges $ 5.99 per month, broadcast networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC offer free streaming news services.
Pert stated that these are facts. “We have learned from our painful, economically costly history.”
He said that the company must decide if it wants to take a different direction from CNN +.
CNN had some reservations about the success of the streaming service, given the sheer number of available streaming services. Even Netflix, which is the pioneer in streaming, is feeling the competition pressure.
Paul Erickson from Parks Associates, research director, said that while this service leverages the CNN brand, it does not provide the kind of content that CNN is famous for, such as the influential live content. “It was already quite a complicated proposal in its initial form” – even without corporate ownership changes.
AT&T allocated $ 100million in development costs to CNN + and 500 employees for the project. Pert assured employees that they would be having “first debates” about the 100 open jobs at CNN. Licht’s memorandum says that employees who leave will receive at least six months of severance.
A CNN employee asked why AT&T (the previous owner of CNN) was allowed to create and launch the service, even though a new management team came in with reservations. Executives said that they weren’t allowed to attend service-related meetings, even though the takeover was approved weeks earlier.
Managers claimed that the responsibility for rapid failure lies with the previous management.
“Would it have been better to have this conversation half a year ago, or nine months ago?” Said Detail. “I couldn’t do that.”
CNN +’s most prominent program was undoubtedly Wallace’s daily interview show, which he quit his previous job as a Fox News Sunday presenter. Wallace did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
He also hosted shows featuring Roman, a former NPR news presenter, Cassie Hunt and Rex Chapman, and Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tepper, Sarah Sidner, and Kate Baldwan, current CNN personal. Some shows haven’t even begun.
Warner Bros. Discovery is managed by Discovery CEO David Zaslav. He has his own vision of CNN and Warner Bros.
Licht wrote in his memo that it was an “incredibly difficult” decision to close down CNN +. This decision is crucial for CNN’s long term success. This will allow leaders and staff to focus resources on core products that are “uniquely our focus: further improving CNN’s reputation as a global news leader” and refocus their resources.
Licht is expected to increase CNN’s attention on news coverage with less commentary.
He informed staff that the decision was not in keeping with the service they had developed.
Licht acknowledged at the team meeting, that the experience with CNN + will at least initially have implications for him and others who might want to go there.
He stated, “We have to accept the erosion of trust” and “build it back”.
Arbel reported from Phoenix.