CNN+’s demise is hardly a one-off occurrence: It is almost as if this is a turning point for corporate media. CNN+ is set to shut down just one month after its launch, and this ought to be a wake up call for all streaming platforms.
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Following a slew of reports about low subscriber counts, Discovery has apparently decided to abandon CNN+, CNN’s ill-fated streaming platform, one month after it launched.
Given the recent turmoil in the streaming industry, it appears that Discovery and Warner Brothers have chose to cut their losses.
CNN+’s tremendous failure to launch emerges after it attracted talent such as Fox News’ Chris Wallace and NBC News’ Kasie Hunt. Owing to the reduced adoption rate, there had been reports of ‘big cuts’ in store for the streaming platform. Initially, the news corporation planned to contribute around $1 billion in the service over the next four years.
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According to the New York Times, CNN+’s fortunes changed dramatically after its former parent company, WarnerMedia (owner of HBO and the storied Warner Bros. film studio), completed its merger with Discovery. Since the merger was completed earlier this month, questions have been raised about the future of CNN+, that had earlier been lauded as CNN’s future.
Executive departures have also been a problem for the streaming video service, with both Jason Kilar, the soon-to-be-former CEO of WarnerMedia, and Ann Sarnoff, the outgoing CEO of WarnerMedia Studios, announcing intentions of leaving. CNN+ customers will recieve pro-rated reimbursements, and CNN+ Chief Andrew Morse will step down.
While CNN officials first defended the streaming service in the face of allegations of low subscription numbers, we have not heard anything since.
For the time being, CNN+ programming will be moved to HBO Max by the newly amalgamated Warner Brothers Discovery. Instead of lavish spending on CNN+, the new business now has to figure out how to pay down $55 billion in corporate debt.
Even CNN is now verifying the story (some could say it is the most honest news CNN has issued in a decade).
Of course, CNN+’s demise is hardly a one-off occurrence: It is almost as if this is a turning point for corporate media:
The company’s fast demise and collapse will almost surely be compared to Quibi, the mobile-only streaming platform founded by Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg that failed after wasting $2 billion in just a few months.
Furthermore, as Glenn Greenwald properly points out, CNN+ is just the latest example of corporate media’s failings.