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CNN+ is dead
CNN has to be one of the most delusional and toxic brands in the United States
CNN+, the streaming platform for literally nobody’s favorite corporate news channel, is dead less than a month after it launched. CNN claims that the decision is a result of the recent merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery and that they don’t want to have to run several different streaming platforms when they could all be housed under a single platform, presumably HBO Max.
The decision was made by new management after CNN's former parent company, WarnerMedia, merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery earlier this month.
The prior management team's vision for CNN+ runs counter to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav's plan to house all of the company's brands under one streaming service. Some CNN+ programming may eventually live on through that service. Other programming will shift to CNN's main television network.
The reality, however, is that there is very little demand for any content from CNN. From an article earlier this year:
CNN averaged only 548,000 viewers during the week of January 3, a steep 80 percent decline from the 2.7 million it averaged over the same period in 2021.
If nobody wants to watch your network for free, why would you expect them to pay you for more content that they don’t want? The business model of a streaming platform presupposes that you have content that people would pay to consume, which has not been the reality for CNN since Donald Trump left the White House at the very latest.
[Incoming CNN CEO Chris] Licht said in a town hall style meeting with staffers that "this was an incredibly successful launch" but simply incompatible with the newly merged company's plans.
"It is not your fault that you had the rug pulled out from underneath you," he said as he vowed to minimize the impacts to staff.
Claiming that CNN+ had an “incredibly successful launch” is also at odds with reality. From CNBC:
Fewer than 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis two weeks into its existence, according to people familiar with the matter.
This demonstrates the biggest part of CNN’s problem: They have no credibility. They lie and obfuscate to promote their agenda. An obviously horrendous launch of CNN+ is described publicly as “incredibly successful,” and they claim the reason that they’re shutting it down is simply because it doesn’t fit in with the vision of their newly merged corporate overlords. Whatever their vision might be, they wouldn’t shutdown CNN+ after having a launch budget of $250 million if it was “incredibly successful.”
CNN can claim to be “The Most Trusted Name In News,” but nobody trusts them because they don’t report the news and their agenda-driven programming is less entertaining than their rivals at Fox News. I don’t know how likely it is that CNN itself will end up as dead as their streaming service, but it does seem clear that they’re not going to change their strategy anytime soon. Fortunately, for those of us inclined, this means that we can sit back and enjoy the only CNN content worth watching: their endlessly hilarious self-sabotage.