Following a string of reports about underwhelming subscriber numbers , Discovery has apparently decided to shut down CNN+, CNN’s ill-fated streaming service, one month after its launch.
Given all the carnage in the loading space lately, it looks like Discovery plus Warner Brothers have decided to slice their losses.
Chris Licht, the incoming CEO of CNN, sent a memo to staffers Thursday morning about “ an important meeting” to be held with noon, and is at that time likely to inform staffer about the choice, these people said. Licht has already told Andrew Morse, the CNN executive vice chief executive who oversees the newly-launched streaming-video outlet, of the decision, these people said. Morse could not be reached for instant comment.
As we reported earlier this month, CNN+’s dramatic failure to launch comes after this lured talent such as Chris Wallace from Fox News and Kasie Hunt through NBC News. There had been reports about ‘ huge cuts’ that were in store for the streaming service due to the reduced adoption rate. The news giant was initially planning to invest around $1 billion in the company over the next four many years.
As the NYT explained, CNN+’s fortunes transformed abruptly after its previous parent, WarnerMedia (owner associated with HBO and the storied Warner Bros. film studio) finished its merger with Breakthrough. Since the merger closed previously this month, doubts possess circulated about the future associated with CNN+, which had formerly been touted as the upcoming of CNN.
Executive departures have also affected the streaming service, because Jason Kilar, soon-to-be-former chief executive of WarnerMedia, and Ann Sarnoff, the departing best executive of WarnerMedia Companies, have both announced programs to leave the company. CNN+ subscribers will receive pro-rated refunds for the service, plus CNN+ head Andrew Morse will leave the company too.
Whilst CNN executives initially looked after the streaming service through reports about lackluster subscription numbers, we don’t observe anybody speaking up right now.
For now, the newly combined Warner Siblings Discovery will move CNN+ content to HBO Max. Rather than the plans to spend lavishly upon CNN+, the new company must now find ways to pay down $55 billion in corporate debt.
Even CNN is confirming the news at this point (some might call it probably the most honest news to come out associated with CNN’s newsroom in a decade).
Of course , CNN+ shutting down isn’t occurring in isolation: it’s almost like today is some kind of reckoning for corporate media:
The quick shutdown and failure will almost certainly elicit comparisons to Quibi, the mobile-only streaming service launched by Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg that shut down after just a few months after squandering some $2 billion.