CNN’s New Streaming Service to Shut Down a Month After It Started

CNN’s New Streaming Service to Shut Down a Month After It Started
People walk by the world headquarters for the Cable News Network (CNN) in Atlanta on March 15, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

CNN’s streaming service, CNN+, will shut down just one month after it was started, the company announced on April 21.

Customers of the streaming service will receive prorated refunds.

CNN+ had reportedly been struggling to add subscribers, even with special offers as low as $2.99 per month.

New management made the decision to end the service after WarnerMedia, CNN’s former parent company, merged with Discovery, according to CNN.

“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,” Discovery executive J.B. Perrette said in a statement to media outlets.

“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+, which launched on March 29, will formally close on April 30.

Joe Concha, a media analyst for The Hill, said the shutdown means that CNN+ “might be the most spectacular failure we’ve seen in media history,” noting that the service totaled “$300 million spent for less than 30 days of existence.”

Perrette and Chris Licht, the incoming CNN CEO, informed employees of the decision in a meeting on April 21, according to the company.

Licht said the launch was “incredibly successful” and told staffers that it was “not your fault that you had the rug pulled out from underneath you.”

The decision may lead to job losses.

CNN+ was described as “a critical part of our future” by Andrew Morse, a CNN executive, in a statement before its launch.

“We’re excited for everyone to experience CNN+ and see what we’ve been working on,” Alex MacCallum, another executive, said at the time. “We have a really compelling content offering with CNN’s world-class journalists and are confident in the product offered at this compelling price.”

The service offered live, on-demand, and interactive programming. It was still accepting subscribers on April 21.

CNN+ included former Fox News host Chris Wallace, former NBC host Kasie Hunt, and CNN reporter Sara Sidner.

“The journalists I have been privileged to work with on CNN+ are world class I am so incredibly proud to be able to call them colleagues. If your organization would like a chance to benefit from their talents, my DMs are open,” Hunt wrote on Twitter.

Sidner said, “It’s over. It’s been the shortest most amazing ride.”