CNN+ streaming service to close | OTT | News | Rapid TV News
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In a massive embarrassment for its parent that had talked up the prospects of a direct-to-consumer version of its core news offer, CNN+ is to cease operations on 30 April, just a month and a day after it began life.
CNNplus logo 20Jul2021
The original intention for CNN+ was to expand CNN’s multiplatform global reach and provide a new, additive experience that complemented core linear networks and digital platforms to serve superfans, news junkies and fans of quality non-fiction programming. It went to market featuring original, live, on-demand and interactive programming as a standalone direct-to-consumer service with offerings separate and distinct from CNN, CNN International, HLN and CNN en Español linear TV channels.

“29 March will be an important day in the history of CNN and CNN+ will be a critical part of our future,” said Andrew Morse, CNN EVP, chief digital officer and head of CNN+ two weeks before the service launched. “I am so proud of the work our teams have done to ensure our world class journalism and storytelling comes to life on this new platform. We can’t wait for our subscribers to experience it.” Morse has now decided to leave the company, effective following a transition period.
After 30 April CNN+ programming will become part of the broader streaming strategy of the now merged Warner Bros. Discovery and there will be a strategic refocus on CNN Digital and CNN Worldwide. CNN+ customers will receive prorated refunds of subscription fees.

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,” explained CNN worldwide chairman and CEO Chris Licht. “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. This is not a decision about quality; we appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organisation with terrific talent and compelling programming. But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice.”

Following closure of the service and Morse’s departure, Alex MacCallum, CNN Worldwide, head of product/general manager CNN+ will step in to lead CNN Digital. She will work with Licht to determine a leadership strategy going forward.
Despite the closure of CNN+, J.B. Perrette, chief executive officer and president of Global Streaming and Interactive Entertainment at Warner Bros. Discovery, insisted the CNN brand and its content would still be key to the company’s direct-to-consumer service.

“Consumers are the centre of our strategy,” he remarked. “In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling. We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world’s premier reputational assets, will play an important role there.”