CNN+ will close on April 30, 2022, just a month after its much-hyped launch, amid dismal sign-up numbers.
The decision came days after parent company WarnerMedia merged with Discovery. Led by CEO David Zaslav the standalone streaming service ran counter to plans by Warner Bros. Discovery to run all its brands under a single service.
“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, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling,” President & CEO of Discovery Streaming & International JB Perrette in a written statement.
“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.”
Staff were told of the decision by Perrette and incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht at a meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Several hundred of them facing losing their jobs, though they’ll benefit from a 90 day pay and benefits package, and the opportunity to seek out roles elsewhere in the company. Those unable to find a position will be compensated for six months.
Earlier this week, Axio reported that just 150,000 had subscribed to the service at a cost of $5.99 a month. CNBC said fewer than 10,000 of them were using it on a daily basis.
CNN had used a mix of its existing anchors, such as Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper to front the service, and had also hired talent from other networks such as Chris Wallace from Fox News.
However, at the most simplistic level the question is how CNN thought it could launch a new streaming service, when it already produces a high-quality news product of its own, as do many others.