Warner Bros. Discovery, now owned by CNN, suddenly are closing the $100 million CNN Plus online streaming initiative. This decision shocked the staff of the service, which was launched only three weeks ago.
After months of planning, hiring and a broad promotion, CNN Plus received a modest number of subscriptions and faced uncertainty in the long run. However, insiders and analysts believe that its failure is the result of miscalculations of the new owner, rather than questionable viability.
The service was conceived and developed by CNN’s previous owner, WarnerMedia. However, the launch came just days before the company finally moved to Discovery Inc. Now for the merged company Warner Bros. Discovery is the responsibility of Discovery executives. It was they who decided to close CNN Plus at the end of the month.
CNN Plus is a cable news giant that has opted for digital streaming. This has reduced the number of cable TV subscriptions. The service tried to attract subscribers with exclusive programs, offered documentaries and series.
Due to limitations in contracts with cable distributors, CNN Plus was unable to provide viewers with streaming access to popular CNN newscasts. In the first month, they had trouble convincing enough people to sign up for the service for $5.99 a month.
The company has hired about 700 professionals to launch CNN Plus. Currently, 350 people may be affected by the release. However, the company expects most employees to find new positions in the company or other Discovery divisions, such as HBO Max.