Less than a month into its launch, Warner Bros. Discovery announced today that it is shutting down CNN+, the streaming subscription service that was supposed to enhance the cable news network’s offerings with live, on-demand and interactive programming, including a whole new way to engage journalism and storytelling together.
At a monthly cost of $5.99, early adopters who signed up within the first four weeks after the March 29 launch would have access to CNN+ at a “Deal of a Lifetime” price offer, or 50% off the monthly plan – for life – as long as they remain subscribers. With the service shutting down effective April 30, it’s unclear what value those subscribers will be getting now, or whether refunds will be provided to those eligible.
“This decision is in line with WBD’s broader direct-to-consumer strategy,” said Chris Licht, the incoming CEO of CNN, in a statement to Variety, which first reported the news. “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.” He added, “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.’’
CNN plans to put more of its focus on CNN Digital, with Licht stating the end of CNN+ was not a reflection of the quality of the service while thanking those who helped develop and curate content for the soon-to-be-defunct streamer. “We appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organization with terrific talent and compelling programming. But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice,” he said.
Reportedly, CNN+ was able to capture 100,000 to 150,000 subscribers in its first few weeks with such programs as “5 Things” and “Reliable Sources Daily” being the standout performers.
According to Deadline, Andrew Morse will leave the company with the end of CNN+. He was in charge of the service and was the Chief Digital Officer at CNN. Alex MacCallum, CNN Worldwide, Head of Product/General Manager CNN+, will lead CNN Digital.