Warner Bros. Discovery said on Thursday that it would shut down its CNN plus streaming news service a month after its launch. The mass media explained that its customers would be best served with a simpler streaming choice.
The news service, which sought to capitalize on the growth of digital news subscriptions, will cease operations on April 30. Correspondingly, the company mentioned that customers would receive prorated refunds on subscription fees.
Consequently, the company also announced the exit of CNN Plus head Andrew Morse after a transition period. Then, Alex MacCallum, the current general manager of the news network, will lead CNN Digital after Morse’s departure.
Warner Bros. further explained that CNN would be strongest as part of the business’ streaming strategy. It now envisions news as an essential part of a compelling broader offering with sports, entertainment, and nonfiction content.
The firm initiated the stand-alone news service last March 29. However, it got off to a slow start garnering fewer than 10,000 daily active viewers.
Reports suggested that the latest decision came from the recommendation of New CNN head Chris Licht.
Executives also emphasized that the news streaming service did not fit strategically into the company’s plans. They noted that the most logical move was to shut it down immediately.
CNN plus has more than 600 employees working on shows. In line with this, the workers will receive a formal severance notice. They will also have a chance to reapply for jobs within the company.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Discovery has not officially outlined its streaming plans and ambitions.
Previous statements cited that they aim to combine HBO Max and Discovery plus with other programming from WarnerMedia.
This merger would potentially include live news and sports and provide all of the content together as Netflix’s rival.
The future of CNN Plus programming
CNN has heavily invested millions of dollars in new talent and programming for the news streaming platform.
Correspondingly, part of that effort will move to HBO Max. Then, other series may live on the firm’s website and its free mobile application.
Moreover, several new talents may assume roles on CNN’s linear station. Nevertheless, CEO Licht will make those determinations in the coming weeks.
Previously, outgoing WarnerMedia Chief Executive Jason Kilar mentioned that CNN plus was significant to the mission of the news company. Regardless, his optimism toward the service eventually failed.
Furthermore, WBD shares closed 6.78% or 1.56 points lower to $21.45 per share on Thursday’s trading session.