CNN+ Implodes As Everyone Knew It Would

CNN+ Implodes As Everyone Knew It Would

CNN+ Implodes As Everyone Knew It Would

There is no greater proof that the media lives inside its own special bubble than those who truly believed that people would PAY to watch more CNN.

But such was the dream of Jeff Zucker for CNN+, before his ouster from the network, as he lured in “talent” from Twitter and promised even more time with famous CNN hosts, along with his biggest “get” – Chris Wallace from Fox News. However, when Zucker hit the pavement after the exposure of all his Cuomo ass-kissing and sleeping with his vice president, the future doom of CNN+ was almost a certainty (which reportedly had Chris Wallace absolutely fuming). With the merger of WarnerMedia (owner of CNN) with Discovery and their Discovery+ streaming service (which actually offers shows that people like to watch), and what had to be an unpleasant cost-benefit analysis, the dream of a new streaming revenue line for the media conglomerate will be put out of its misery on April 30th.

A moment, please, for poor Tater Stelter, as he works through his sads (and the rumors that his own job is on the chopping block) about just how BIG a fail this experiment has been.

David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, has said that he wants to house all of the company’s brands under one streaming service. Some CNN+ programming may eventually live on through that service.”

Hundreds of CNN+ staffers were notified of the decision in a meeting on Thursday afternoon.”

Earlier in the day, incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht held a meeting with Andrew Morse, the executive vice president overseeing CNN+, and his top lieutenants, a person familiar with the matter said.
Morse, who championed the streaming service, will depart the company after a transition period.”

The decision to shut down CNN+ just weeks after it launched marked a stunning end to the streaming news service. Executives had touted the application as the most significant launch since Ted Turner founded CNN in 1980.”

CNN had poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the new streaming app and lured top talent from other networks for it, including Kasie Hunt from NBC and Chris Wallace from Fox News.”

It really was a simple numbers game. “Hundreds of millions of dollars” spent on talent, and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WAS WATCHING IT, much less subscribing to the app.

Fewer than 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis two weeks into its existence, according to people familiar with the matter.”

The people spoke with CNBC on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss nonpublic data.”

CNN+ launched on March 29. The subscription news streaming service, which charges $5.99 a month or $59.99 annually, only became available on Roku on Monday and still isn’t on Android TV. Still, the paltry audience casts doubt on the future of the application following the recently completed combination of Discovery and WarnerMedia into Warner Bros. Discovery.”

To put that daily user number in perspective, CNN’s cable network suffered a sharp decline in viewership last year but still rang up an average of 773,000 total viewers a day.”

I mean, they had already heavily discounted their initial subscription price from $5.99 a month to $2.99 a month IF you subscribed in the first month and kept your subscription current. There’s a difference between offering a good deal, and trying to inflate your subscriber numbers so you look like a good investment. Obviously, it didn’t work. The advertising budget for CNN+ had already been slashed, and the change in management meant that no reprieve was likely to come. Sorry, a book club show with Jake Tapper simply isn’t the content that people are going to pay for. The internal emails offer little consolation, though it does sound like most of the employees will be transitioned to new jobs or get a decent severance.

And poor Chris Wallace. *snort* He just had his first big interview last night!

Yes, that would be the “star” of CNN+ talking to the future MSNBC host. Of course, almost no one was watching when Wallace actually committed an act of journalism against Psaki.

And the sad part is that the question was good, but the YouTube and Twitter clips are getting more views than CNN+ will.

The hope, at least per the internal emails, is that Warner Bros. Discovery will eventually create some kind of CNN streaming app under their own umbrella, but it’s obvious that they will have to roll it into their current offerings and make it cost-effective. It’s as clear as crystal that the numbers do not exist to support CNN+ as an independent streaming app. As multiple people are pointing out, this is a debacle on scale with “New Coke.” Perhaps Chris Wallace can re-market himself as “New Chris Wallace” and call it a career.

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