CNN to shut down weeks-old CNN+ streaming service

Ambitious new venture launched amid parent company mergers

CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. AP

CNN’s new streaming service, CNN+, is shutting down only a month after its launch.

In a memo on Thursday, incoming CNN chief executive Chris Licht said the service would go offline at the end of April.

When it was owned by AT&T, CNN spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the service, which executives described as the news organisation’s most ambitious new venture since the founding of the network more than 40 years ago.

The CNN streamer offers a mix of lifestyle shows and traditional news, including a daily interview show from Chris Wallace and a food and travel show hosted by actress Eva Longoria.

The company charged $5.99 a month for the streaming service, the same as Fox News’ paid streaming service. Fox Corporation has not said how many people pay for Fox Nation.

CNN’s parent company was combined with Discovery this month in a new company, Warner Bros. Discovery, under Discovery chief executive David Zaslav, who had his own vision for CNN and its Warner siblings.

In his memo, Mr Licht said consumers wanted “simplicity and an all-in service” rather than “stand-alone offerings.” Discovery had previously suggested that it wanted to merge the new company’s separate streaming services, which include Discovery+ and HBO Max, into a single app.

Mr Licht said some CNN+ content would wind up on other company networks, and the streaming service’s employees would have opportunities to apply for jobs elsewhere inside Warner Bros. Discovery.

The head of CNN+, Andrew Morse, is leaving the company.

“While today’s decision is incredibly difficult, it is the right one for the long-term success of CNN. It allows us to refocus resources on the core products that drive our singular focus: further enhancing CNN’s journalism and its reputation as a global news leader,” Mr Licht wrote.

Under AT&T, there were $100 million in development costs and about 500 employees assigned to building CNN+.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: April 21, 2022, 6:40 PM