We hope you didn’t get CNN Plus for their “Lifetime Discount Offer”. Anyone who signed up for the $5.99 per month service would save 50% as long as they kept their account open. Sadly, CNN Plus is now dead in the water. And it collapsed after less than a month.
This news comes to us from Variety, which reported that parent company Warner Bros. Discovery is “closing” CNN Plus. Staff members, as well as the public and readers around the world, are getting details today, according to “two people familiar with the matter” who spoke with Variety. CNN later confirmed the news, announcing that the service will be shutting down on April 30, a month after it debuted on March 29.
This is the latest bad news in the streaming media landscape, days after Netflix’s earnings revealed its first overall subscriber loss in a financial quarter. The big red streaming machine lost more than 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022.
Yet executives at CNN Plus probably wish they had lost that many subscribers. According to a report by Sarah Fisher of Axios, CNN Plus had logged “approximately 150,000 subscribers” as of earlier this week.
To update: CNN has confirmed the closure of CNN Plus and we have the following statement:
“In a complex broadcast market, consumers want simplicity and a comprehensive service that provides a better experience and more value than standalone offerings and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling.” said Discovery’s director of streaming, JB Perrette.
♬ misery 4 u – Nick
Analysis: What went wrong with CNN Plus?
The untimely demise of CNN Plus appears to be a case of poor service at the wrong time. As great as CNN is, the service debuted during the height of competition between major streaming services.
Too much competition: Right now, HBO Max is on the rise, Netflix is struggling to keep subscribers, and Peacock and Paramount Plus offer live events and news. This market is undeniably oversaturated.
Heck, Apple TV Plus, after a long wait for a big hit, then another long wait for something that people love and that’s not just Ted Lasso, is booming right now, with shows like Severance, The Afterparty and Pachinko. It even won the Oscar for Best Picture, a first for a streaming service, for CODA. But that’s only happened so far because Apple was more than happy to let things roll during the quiet months.
(Image credit: CNN Plus)
New management: CNN is one of the many brands of the Warner Bros. empire Discovery that came through acquisition. But with acquisition comes new bosses, and those bosses may have higher standards. This appears to be the case, as Fischer’s report in Axios points out that while CNN executives, although the launch of CNN Plus “was a success,” it’s not enough when “Discovery executives disagree” .
That same management plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery Plus, and we could see CNN content fall to this new superservice.
A content problem: CNN Plus has what I call “the ESPN Plus problem.” ESPN Plus launched without live ESPN channels and hasn’t added them yet. CNN Plus did the same thing, arriving without the key property that people associate with its brand.
That said, ESPN Plus has become a staple for UFC fans because it’s where the UFC pay-per-views live. Likewise, Peacock is now a staple for WWE fans, having acquired the rights to broadcast live events from World Wrestling Entertainment, as well as their back catalogue.
If you love CNN, why would you choose CNN Plus when you can only watch CNN? The advertised content suggested that CNN fans had more of their favorite personalities, including Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper. And that makes CNN Plus a very niche service, drawing fans from its audience.
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