CNN+ Is Being Shut Down After $300 Million and Only One Month Live
I didn’t have high expectations, but nobody saw it performing this poorly
I recently wrote a piece detailing the troubles streaming platform CNN+ was having right out of the gate. Well, this has turned into a series because there are new developments… After a year of scandal and controversy that saw anchor Chris Cuomo and President Jeff Zucker both exit in embarrassment, CNN desperately needed a win. But what was once billed as ‘the evolution of video news and the start of a new era for the company’ has tripped, fallen, and died mere feet from the starting blocks.
A confluence of events has led to yet another dumpster fire for the company. I almost feel bad for Chris Wallace, who left Fox News after eighteen years and was going to be one of the pillars of the new streaming platform.
After three hundred million dollars, hundreds of new hires, and a massive marketing campaign, the new parent company Warner Bros. Discovery is pulling the plug.
The incoming CEO Chris Licht said on Thursday they would, “cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investment on CNN’s core news-gathering operations and in further building CNN Digital.”
So one short month after a highly anticipated launch, they’re ceasing operations. What the hell happened?
I‘d like to make this another dunk on CNN essay, but to be a little bit fair, bad timing did play a role. Warner Media, the former CNN parent company, was officially acquired by Discovery on April 11th. CNN+ had been in the works since at least July of 2021 and leading up to the merger the incoming parent company wasn’t legally allowed to communicate too directly with CNN.
Acquiring CNN while having their own massive portfolio of channels and outlets, Discovery might have had a different vision for a streaming service with the CNN brand. But again, jumping through the legal hoops of a multi-billion-dollar merger, there was a lack of communication, maybe some miscommunication, and nobody told them they were about to fall face-first on the treadmill — although that should have been obvious.