By Newsmax Wires | Thursday, 21 April 2022 01:04 PM
CNN’s brand-new streaming service, CNN+, is shutting down only a month after launch. In a Thursday memo, incoming CNN chief executive Chris Licht confirmed a Variety report on the shutdown. Licht said the service would shut down at the end of April.
In his memo, Licht said consumers wanted “simplicity and an all-in service” rather than “stand-alone offerings.” Discovery had previously suggested that it wanted to merge the new company’s separate streaming services, which include Discovery+ and HBO Max, into a single app. Licht said some CNN+ content will wind up on other company networks, and the streaming service’s employees will get opportunities to apply for jobs elsewhere inside Warner Bros. Discovery. The head of CNN+, Andrew Morse, is leaving the company.
“While today’s decision is incredibly difficult, it is the right one for the long-term success of CNN. It allows us to refocus resources on the core products that drive our singular focus: further enhancing CNN’s journalism and its reputation as a global news leader,” Licht wrote.
CNN+ launched when its parent was still part of AT&T. It combined with Discovery earlier this month in a new company, Warner Bros. Discovery, under Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who had his own vision for CNN and its Warner siblings. Under AT&T, there were $100 million in development costs and some 500 employees assigned to building out CNN+. The service had attracted big names for its lineup, from former Fox anchor Chris Wallace to food-media star Alison Roman, as part of the company’s effort to appeal to younger people with a streaming news service as cable news audiences age. There had been skepticism that a paid news streaming service would attract interest from consumers, who already have available a slew of online TV. While Fox has a paid streaming service, Fox Nation, other major TV news organizations make their apps available free.
CNBC, citing an unnamed source, reported that the decision to shut the service was based on recommendations from Licht after he studied the service. Politico reports that CNN+ staffers will continue to get pay and benefits for the next 90 days. Any CNN+ employee who leaves the company after that will get a minimum six-month severance.
CNN launched CNN+ in a bid to capitalize on the rising popularity of streaming video and growth of digital subscriptions at major news organizations. The streaming service offers a combination of live, on-demand and interactive programming, with an emphasis on original content.
Material from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.
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