Warner Bros Discovery didn’t take long to take on its new identity. Less than a month after the merger, the company shut down CNN+ about a month after the streaming service went online.
Incoming CNN head Chris Licht also didn’t have to wait too long to get into action, He played a part in CNN+’s demise even before formally assuming his seat.
CNN+ Shuts Down Weeks After It Went Online
CNN+, which is CNN’s premium standalone streaming service, launched last March 29. However, it generated less than 10,000 daily active viewers two weeks after its launch.
As a result, Warner Bros Discovery decided to shut down the service. Customers who already paid for the service will receive prorated refunds.
Chris Licht, chairman, and CEO of CNN Worldwide issued a statement Thursday regarding the failed experiment. “This is not a decision about quality; we appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+,” he said.
However, the company decided to consolidate its service instead. Specifically, Licht said that “our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice.”
CNN+ Head Andrew Morse To Leave Warner Bros Discovery
In addition to shutting down CNN+, its head Andrew Morse will also leave Warner Bros Discovery.
Current CNN+ General Manager Alex MacCallum will lead CNN Digital after Morse’s departure. In fact, Licht didn’t waste much time in deciding CNN+’s fate.
Along with other CNN executives, Licht began reconsidering an alternate digital strategy for the cable news company.
Consequently, CNN+’s eventual shutdown resulted from this series of assessments. Ironically, Licht will only officially start his tenure at CNN as head beginning May 1.
In particular, Licht replaced former CNN boss Jeff Zucker, who got the ax for failing to disclose a relationship with a subordinate, Allison Gollust.
Warner Bros Discovery To Merge HBO Max and Discovery+
Meanwhile, Warner Bros Discovery has yet to disclose its integrated streaming service plan given it now handles CNN, HBO, and Discovery.
However, early reports show that the goal is to eventually merge HBO Max and Discovery+ with other WarnerMedia sports and news assets.
Eventually, the consolidated service aims to compete with the likes of industry leader Netflix.
If Warner Bros Discovery ultimately settles to form a single subscriber bundle, CNN should revert to a single entity. This ultimately led to the decision to ax CNN+.
During the resulting all-hands meeting, Licht said shutting it down immediately was the logical move.
Previous Discovery’s decisions to shut down Food Network Kitchen and GolfTV followed the realization that people don’t want to pay for small services.
Previous Leadership Blamed For Pushing CNN+
In the ensuing Q&A, staffers sought to find out what happened to the doomed service. Warner Bros Discovery Head of global streaming JB Perrette tried to answer all their questions.
He blamed the prior WarnerMedia management for pushing forward with CNN+ even if they knew the merger would kill it.
Watch the CNBC Television News video breaking down why CNN+ is shutting down:
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