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CNN’s heavily promoted new online streaming service may have just launched but there are already rumors of troubles with the platform which is reportedly struggling to sell subscriptions and already on the verge of laying off workers.
Less than two days after the official debut of the $120 million venture, a belated entry into the streaming news business that is years behind competitor Fox News which launched Fox Nation three years ago, the news broke that rough times could be in the near future for the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news” and that job cuts could be imminent unless more paid subscribers sign up.
In a Wednesday bombshell dropped via Twitter, Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino delivered the shocking news that the launch of CNN+ has imploded on liftoff.
“@CNNplus employees bracing for layoffs possibly as soon as May amid projections of lackluster sales of new streaming channel; CNN employees say new streaming channel could be merged into larger @discoveryplus as early as May unless subscriptions pick up…”
Breaking: @CNNplus employees bracing for layoffs possibly as soon as May amid projections of lackluster sales of new streaming channel; CNN employees say new streaming channel could be merged into larger @discoveryplus as early as May unless subscriptions pick up 130 @FoxBusiness
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) March 30, 2022
Matt Dornic, CNN’s worldwide head of strategic communications responded to Gasparino’s report but didn’t address the possibility of job cuts due to failing to meet subscriber projections.
“For the record, we are VERY happy with the launch of CNN+ and are only bracing for a long run of success,” he tweeted.
For the record, we are VERY happy with the launch of CNN+ and are only bracing for a long run of success.
— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) March 30, 2022
CNN + is priced at $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year with a special bonus offer, “Early subscribers that sign up within the first four weeks directly will have access to the “Deal of a Lifetime,” or 50% off the monthly plan – for life – as long as they remain subscribers,” according to a CNN press announcement.
But even that generous offer wasn’t enough to lure viewers and CNN slashed prices even lower, to $2.99 per month to coincide with the platform’s debut.
Launch offer: $2.99/month (standard price $5.99/month). One offer per customer. Cancel anytime. Limited time offer ends 4/26/22. pic.twitter.com/GLMkrDuL3D
— CNN+ (@CNNplus) March 29, 2022
CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter pitched the new service to potential subscribers, who by early indications are reluctant to pay money for additional content from a network that the vast majority of Americans don’t even watch for free.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 27, 2022
Twitter users reacted to the sad but completely predictable news.
Nothing says success like layoffs in the first month. #RIPCNNPLUS
— Tony FJB Bruno (@TonyBrunoShow) March 30, 2022
Stevie Wonder saw this coming. They can't even get a million viewers in prime time yet thought those viewers would pay more for the same crap.
— wes stevens (@wes12878) March 30, 2022
You mean people aren’t willing to pay for the kind of content they won’t even watch when its free?
— The Captain’s Blog (@williamnyy23) March 30, 2022
The people who still get their news from CNN are the people too lazy to go find and pay for better information.
CNN is just there on the TV service they bought. Like an after dinner mint or a fortune cookie on top of the check.
Except it’s poop.
— Oilfield Rando (@Oilfield_Rando) March 30, 2022
When ‘plus’ means minus.
— Tunku Varadarajan (@tunkuv) March 30, 2022
Interesting you didn’t address the layoffs part of the tweet.
— Audrey Alex (@aalex2) March 30, 2022
Do companies always give a lifetime 50% off discount on the first day launch of a new streaming service? Like 3 hours into selling them? Must be because so many were willing to pay full price, huh?
— neither (@ryanh71879) March 30, 2022
They are offering 1/2 off the price for an entire year and they still can’t cut it. Lol @ the clown network
— Lisa (@Rockprincess818) March 30, 2022
No one watched CNN when it was free at airports. No one watches on basic cable either. What makes you believe someone will actually pay to watch CNN streaming.
— Kirk High-Land (@KirkHighland) March 30, 2022
I’m really surprised that their diehard audience of airport televisions hasn’t subscribed to a premium service en masse.
— Jeff Richman 🇺🇦❤️ (@jcrichman) March 30, 2022
Yes, of course, most companies are VERY happy with the launch of a product no one wants.
— lihi cohen (@lihicohen9) March 30, 2022
I guess Chris Wallace wasn’t the draw they thought he’d be.
— cr_clark (@cr_clark) March 30, 2022
In addition to viewer apathy with the existing free content of a network that completely trashed its own brand under the disastrous tenure of ex-president Jeff Zucker who resigned in disgrace in February, the promos for the streaming platform were a sign of potential trouble with star acquisition Chris Wallace missing from the gaggle of on-air personalities hawking the new product.
— CNN+ (@CNNplus) March 24, 2022
The former Fox News star anchor was hired away from his longtime employer in a move that was a major coup for CNN, but rumors that he is disgruntled following the ouster of Zucker have percolated, including his sour relationship with Jake Tapper whom he “hates,” according to a recent report.
“He went over there for Zucker and now Zucker is gone. Wallace feels that he has been stiffed. He’s got no staff, no Executive Producer and the guy he gave up a prized gig for has just walked out the door,” according to an unnamed TV industry insider who was quoted by Radar Online.
In what is already a tumultuous time at CNN which has been plagued by scandals involving top personalities including fired anchor Chris Cuomo as well as the coming change in management when veteran producer Chris Licht takes over and begins an anticipated shakeup, the failure of the heralded streaming platform would be a massively embarrassing addition to the network’s pile of woes.
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