CNN’s multi-million dollar streaming service project, CNN+, will be shutting down at the end of April. The network’s new project failed to garner more than 150,000 subscribers despite spending millions on promotion.
In a Thursday memo, incoming CNN chief executive Chris Licht said the service would shut down at the end of April. CNN’s streaming service launched while its parent company was still part of AT&T. It later combined with Discovery earlier this month to form a new company, Warner Bros. Discovery, under Discovery CEO David Zaslav. The new CEO has laid out a different vision for the company, which led to the plug being pulled on CNN+.
“As we become Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN will be strongest as part of WBD’s streaming strategy which envisions news as an important part of a compelling broader offering along with sports, entertainment, and nonfiction content,” CNN Worldwide CEO Chris Licht wrote in his memo.
“We have therefore made the decision to cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investment on CNN’s core news-gathering operations and in further building CNN Digital,” Licht continued. “This is not a decision about quality; we appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organization with terrific talent and compelling programming. But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice.”
In addition, CNN executive vice president and chief digital officer Andrew Morse, who oversaw operations with CNN+, will exit the company. “We are grateful to Andrew for his significant contributions to CNN Digital and CNN+ over the years,’’ Licht said. “He and his team created a quality slate of rich and compelling content and helped produce and distribute CNN’s journalism around the world on a variety of platforms. We appreciate Andrew and everyone’s hard work and dedication.’’
CNN’s streaming service promoted former Fox News host Chris Wallace as its star and signed several names popular with the online left. This included Rex Chapman, a former NBA player known for reposting other people’s content on Twitter and failed ESPN host Jemele Hill.
Axios reported that the service had attracted just 150,000 subscribers in a report earlier this month.