CNN Shuts Down Streaming Service One Month After Launch

The new owners of CNN are to shut down the US-based news network’s streaming service, CNN+, just one month after its launch.

The company said all subscribers would receive prorated refunds. The decision places the jobs of hundreds of CNN+ staff at risk.

WBD’s decision to axe CNN+ comes amidst increasingly stiff competition in the streaming market. Last week Netflix saw $50bn (£38bn) wiped off its share value after announcing a sharp drop in subscribers.

New parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, whose merger completed earlier this month, only two weeks after CNN+ launched, said the new service was a success, but that it simply conflicted with WBD’s plans to house all its streaming content on a single platform.

Consolidation

Discovery publicly confirmed earlier this month that it planned to merge its Discovery+ streaming platform with Warner Bros.’ HBO Max after the merger, rather than offering two separate services as a bundle.

However, Discovery’s leadership was legally unable to communicate these plans to executives at the news network before the deal was finalised, CNN reported.

Discovery’s streaming chief J.B. Perrette told staff at a company meeting that “some” of the situation was avoidable, but that the prior leadership of WarnerMedia and CNN had decided to proceed with the CNN+ launch in spite of the impending merger.

“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,” Perrette said in a statement.

He added that CNN would “play an important role” in WBD’s streaming plans.

CNN+ staff have been given 90 days to find other roles within the company, and those who fail to do so will be given a minimum of six months of severance pay.

‘Total and utter shock’

CNN quoted one unnamed staffer who attended the meeting as expressing “total and utter shock” at the decision.

The streaming service had been promoted as the most significant launch since Ted Turner founded CNN in 1980.

The company had spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing it, and lured top talent from other networks to create hours of daily live programming and weekly shows.

The programming is scheduled to continue streaming through the end of the month.

Last week Netflix reported a plunge in subscribers for the first three months of the year, warning shareholders another two million subscribers were likely to depart in the three months to July.

Following the announcement the company’s shares dropped by more than a third, erasing $50bn from its stock market valuation.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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