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CNN+ to shut down April 30, faster than Quibi
CNN+ to shut down on April 30, just 32 days after launching
CNN+ will shut down on April 30, 2022, despite a splashy marketing campaign for the $6/mo streaming service and top talent joining from rival cable news organizations. Today’s not-so-shocking announcement from parent company Warner Bros. (and first reported by Variety, comes the same week leading streamer Netflix projected to lose 2.2 million subscribers in two quarters and lost 35% of its stock price in 24 hours.
It’s a tough time to be involved in the oversaturated big-budget streaming business. Ads for CNN+ were everyone, execs touted amassing up to 150,000 subscribers in its first three weeks and CNN poached high-profile reporting talent from Fox News (Chris Wallace), NBC News (Kasey Hunt) and NPR (Audie Cornish), and recruited its own cable news anchors (Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon) for streaming shows.
But daily audience numbers for CNN+ were low. Very low: 10,000 people on a daily basis, reports CNBC, citing people familiar with the matter. Even Quibi, the short-form streaming app by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, had 1.3 million active users at one point during its six-month run.
There’s no word on how CNN will shuffle its talent like Wallace and Hunt (it does need a show to replace Chris Cuomo with Anderson Cooper pulling double duty right now), but CNN+ staffers will be paid for 90 days while they seek other roles in the company.
How other streaming services survive
CNN+ is the latest streaming service to launch in a world where it feels like we have one too many. Here are the top streaming services by subscribers:
Amazon Prime Video
Apple TV Plus
The list could go on, but you get the picture. Besides having a stable of franchises to create shows that will succeed with fans and nostalgia seekers no matter what (i.e. what Disney does), others have wrapped themselves into packages (ESPN+ and Hulu are part of a Disney+ package and Amazon Prime Video comes with Amazon Prime). Also every US phone carrier offers a subscription to a streaming service with select plans: T-Mobile (free Netflix), AT&T (HBO Max) and Verizon (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and as of this week HBO Max).
The package deal is a better sell, although even with Discovery merging with Warner Bros in 2021, that wasn’t enough to keep CNN+ from becoming the most busted name in news.