According to a leaked internal email from NPR, the streaming platform for CNN+, the cable news network’s internet TV service, will close on April 30 just one month after its debut.
CNN+ was launched on March 22 as a streaming platform for CNN’s live and on-demand content. The service cost $5 per month or $50 per year, and was available on desktop, mobile, and connected TV devices.
At the time of its launch, CNN+ was positioned as a direct competitor to other streaming news services like CBS News’ CBSN and NBC News’ MSNBC Now. But unlike those services, which offer a mix of live and on-demand news programming, CNN+ was entirely focused on live content. The service was also notable for its lack of advertising; all of its content was ad-free.
It’s not clear how many people signed up for CNN+, but the service never gained much traction. In the weeks since its launch, it has been overshadowed by other streaming news services, as well as by the cable news network’s own linear TV channel.
After a merger between Discovery and CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia earlier this month, the new company WarnerBros Discovery announced that it was phasing out the new service.
According to a memo sent by incoming CEO Chris Licht and audio of internal company meeting held by Licht, the decision to shutter its subscription offshoot platform coincides with Warner Bros. Discovery’s direct-to-consumer strategy. Licht contends, “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”.
Ahead of its initial launch, CNN+ had been actively recruiting recognizable media hosts and other popular names to spearhead the new offerings coming from the new platform. Those new fresh faces included Fox News host Chris Wallace, chef and food writer Alison Roman, NBC’s Kasie Hunt, and NPR’s Audie Cornish.
During the meeting in which he informed CNN+ personnel of the shutdown, Licht said he intended to “double down” on the network programming and online presence.