CNN+ Is Shutting Down 2 Days Early

Streaming service's last day will be April 28
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2022 2:33 PM CDT
Updated Apr 27, 2022 6:10 PM CDT
Incoming Owners Shut Down Streaming Service a Month In
This image shows the logo for the new CNN streaming service CNN Plus, which debuted on March 29 and will be shut down April 28.   (CNN via AP)

Update: Streaming service CNN+ is going to be even shorter-lived than expected. The service—which cost $300 million to set up and was launched with much fanfare on March 29—is going to have the plug pulled on April 28, two days earlier than employees were told last week, the Verge reports. Subscribers received an email saying they would be refunded the full amount of their subscription and after Thursday, "the CNN Plus daily and weekly shows, Interview Club, and the on-demand library of CNN Original Series and Films will no longer be available." Our original story from April 21 follows:

CNN+, the highly hyped streaming service that executives said was central to the cable network's future, had the plug pulled Thursday—meaning the venture will have existed for one month. The news network spent $300 million to develop the streaming service and said it would spend $750 million more in the next few years, the Wall Street Journal reports. Instead, employees were told Thursday morning that CNN+, which launched March 29, will cease to be on April 30. Andrew Morse, who ran the new service, was shown the door.

A somewhat circular memo to employees said the decision "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." The return to the priorities of a month ago appears at least partly driven by the fact that the product was caught between two owners. Discovery Communications is replacing WarnerMedia this month; the memo came from Chris Licht, though he hasn't taken office as CEO yet. The service was the brainchild of the outgoing regime, and merger regulations kept the new bosses from weighing in on decisions, per Variety.

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Fewer than 100,000 people had signed up at $5.99 a month. "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," Licht's memo said. CNN's spending had included signing up names such as Chris Wallace to host streaming shows. Some employees who lost their jobs will go elsewhere at CNN or be eligible for six months' severance pay, per the Washington Post. At the launch party in March, per the New York Times, executives announced that the first person to sign up for the streaming service was Ted Turner, CNN's founder. (More CNN stories.)

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