By Theresa Opeka
CNN has pulled the plug on its streaming service, CNN+, less than a month after it launched. It is scheduled to shut down on April 30. Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s new parent company, made the decision.
According to a report on CNN.com, the streaming service was not compatible with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s plans for a more streamlined service. Some of the failed streaming service’s programs may continue on the new service or go directly to CNN.
CNN+ was an idea that came about from disgraced former CEO Jeff Zucker and former parent company, WarnerMedia, which merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery earlier this month.
Despite having the likes of Chris Wallace, who left Fox News to join the CNN+ project, and Kasie Hunt from NBC News, along with a $1 billion investment, the streaming service was reported to have had fewer than 10,000 daily users as of last week at $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year. Warner Bros. Discovery also has billions in debt after the merger. Customers will be getting a prorated refund.
The company also announced CNN+ head Andrew Morse is leaving Warner Bros. Discovery after a transition period. Alex MacCallum, currently CNN+’s general manager and head of product, will lead CNN Digital after Morse departs.
Although there are reports that Wallace and Hunt may move to CNN, many staffers from CNN+ may lose their jobs.
Eulogy tweets for the streaming service trended on Twitter following the announcement. The results are painfully funny but also indicate consumer contempt, something the news organization is struggling to overcome.
Regarding CNN+ I don’t think people should be cheering about the loss of jobs for a lot of ordinary people, but I also hope journalists understand that this is happening not just because people are jerks — the level of contempt directed at their profession is well-earned.
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) April 21, 2022
The news is the latest in a series of blows that seem to throw the cable news network into something of an identity crisis. CNN lost 50% of its prime-time ratings since former President Donald Trump left office and 36% of its viewership overall since President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Add to that, Zucker resigned on Feb. 2 for not disclosing his affair with Allison Gollust, the network’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer and former top aide of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The pair allegedly coached the former governor on his COVID-19 briefings and had him do segments with his brother, Chris Cuomo, who was suspended from the network for allegedly advising his brother on sexual harassment complaints and was later fired for an alleged accusation of sexual assault.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s long-term plans include merging the Discovery+ streaming service with HBO Max.