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(Video Credit: Fox News)
CNN+, the brainchild of disgraced former CNN media executive Jeff Zucker, is officially shuttering itself just 30 days after launch, only garnering 150,000 subscribers when the goal was over 2 million in its disastrous debut.
Variety was the first to report on Warner Bros. Discovery shutting down the service. According to the network, CNN+ customers “will receive prorated refunds of subscription fees.”
The decision was made by new management following the merger of WarnerMedia with Discovery earlier this month according to CNN Business in a piece written by reporter Oliver Darcy and CNN host Brian Stelter. Discovery CEO David Zaslav reportedly plans to house all of the company’s brands under one streaming service. Some of CNN+’s programming may be resurrected via that service. Other programming will be hosted on CNN’s primary network.
“In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling,” Discovery’s streaming boss J.B. Perrette said via a statement.
Breaking: CNN+, the streaming service that was hyped as one of the most signifiant developments in the history of CNN, will shut down on April 30, just one month after it launched. Here's our initial story – more to come https://t.co/JElI3cVyDF
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 21, 2022
Breaking: CNN+ is being shut down on April 30. This might be the most spectacular failure we’ve seen in media history. And that ain’t hyperbole. $300 million spent for less than 30 days of existence.
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) April 21, 2022
This is one of the most amazing Tweets ever. Glorious. pic.twitter.com/rvEXQX4DtG
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 21, 2022
“We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world’s premier reputational assets, will play an important role there,” he remarked.
In a meeting held Thursday afternoon, Chris Licht, the incoming CEO of CNN told staffers about the decision and didn’t pull any punches in doing so, calling it a “uniquely shitty situation.”
“This decision is in line with WBD’s broader direct-to-consumer strategy,” Licht noted.
The nixing of CNN+ could cost hundreds of staffers their jobs. An internal memo sent out by Licht announced that “all CNN+ employees will continue to be paid and receive benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital and elsewhere in the Warner Bros. Discovery family.”
Cheering the failure of CNN+, however you feel about the idea behind it, is gross. Lots of people are losing their jobs. The high-priced hosts will be fine, but folks who are just trying to make a living in an industry that already pays shit wages… this sucks for them.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) April 21, 2022
He claimed that “this was an incredibly successful launch” but simply didn’t fit in with the merged company’s plans.
“It is not your fault that you had the rug pulled out from underneath you,” he told employees.
— Media Research Center (@theMRC) April 21, 2022
Many will find jobs elsewhere in the company. Those who don’t will receive six months of severance pay.
Perrette also vented some frustration over Zucker’s apparent lack of leadership at CNN during the meeting.
“Some of this was avoidable,” he claimed, but “prior leadership decided to just keep going” with the planned March launch of CNN+ even though the merger was looming in two weeks.
Alex MacCallum, who is the head of product and general manager of CNN+, will now be in charge of CNN Digital and work with Licht “to determine a leadership strategy going forward,” according to the press release.
CNN+ had been promoted by the network as the “most significant launch since Ted Turner founded CNN in 1980.” The company poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the streaming service and stole executives from other networks to work for CNN+. That included Kasie Hunt from NBC News and Chris Wallace from Fox News.
The journalists I have been privileged to work with on CNN Plus are world class
I am so incredibly proud to be able to call them colleagues
If your organization would like a chance to benefit from their talents, my DMs are open
This is *my* job for the foreseeable future
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) April 21, 2022
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