CNN+ Streaming Service Pulls a Quibi, Will Shut down a Month after Launch

CNN+ Streaming Service Pulls a Quibi, Will Shut down a Month after Launch

CNN and Warner Bros. Discovery today announced that CNN+ would stop operations on April 30 — barely a month after its introduction — following several allegations that the new CNN+ subscription streaming service was struggling to attract users. Customers will be eligible for prorated refunds of their monthly costs as a result of the firm’s closure, according to the company. Andrew Morse, EVP and chief digital officer of CNN Worldwide and head of CNN+, is also departing the firm following a transition time, according to the report.

This might be one of the most rapid streaming shutdowns we’ve ever seen. We also witnessed Quibi’s fate. In a statement about the service’s closure, Chris Licht, chairman and CEO of CNN Worldwide, said, “As we become Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN will be strongest as part of WBD’s streaming strategy, which envisions news as an important part of a compelling broader offering along with sports, entertainment, and nonfiction content.”

“As a result, we’ve decided to shut down CNN+ and devote our resources to CNN’s core newsgathering activities and the expansion of CNN Digital.” This is not a quality choice; we applaud all of the hard work, passion, and creativity that went into creating CNN+, a company with fantastic talent and fascinating programming. “However, a simpler streaming option will be preferable for both consumers and CNN,” Licht added. CNN+ had a low acceptance rate after its March 29 launch, according to reports.

After two weeks, less than 10,000 users were utilizing the program on a daily basis, according to CNBC’s sources. People would pay a subscription for live and on-demand news programming and other material, including a thousand or more hours of on-demand episodes, films, and CNN+ originals, according to the company’s hazardous gamble in today’s competitive streaming market.

It has also enlisted the help of prominent journalistic figures such as NBC News’ Kasie Hunt and Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Brian Stelter, Christiane Amanpour, Audie Cornish, Don Lemon, Jake Tapper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Sara Sidner, Kate Bolduan, Poppy Harlow, and more were among the CNN talent highlighted. However, the service charged $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year, which may have looked excessive for a lineup of material that was too similar to what, is available now on cable TV.

CNN+ had a rocky start, according to TechCrunch, which cited third-party analytics and other media accounts. However, the firm later informed us that it was “extremely pleased with the launch” and that its first week’s performance had been “far ahead of expectations.” That raises the question of whether the corporation breached the line between standard PR hype for a new property and maybe lying about real performance. 

CNN+ launched just weeks before WarnerMedia and Discovery merged, under the leadership of ex-WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who has since departed the firm; David Zaslav now leads Warner Bros. Discovery. Following Morse’s retirement, CNN Digital will be led by Alex MacCallum, the head of product/general manager CNN+, who will endeavor to establish the next steps. With its stated ambitions to integrate HBO Max and Discovery+ into one package, the business most likely didn’t see the sense in operating a separate membership program.