CNN’s subscription streaming service may struggle to find an audience

After more than three decades of cable broadcasting, CNN is going digital. The popular news network is currently preparing an Internet subscription service called “CNN +,” with eight to twelve hours of live programming each day. CNN will join the now-numerous ranks of traditional media companies that have entered the digital age by simply adding a plus sign to their names.

CNN says it is hiring “hundreds of people” and “developing dozens of programs” for the service, which will officially launch in early 2022.

The executives of WarnerMedia and CNN are very pleased with themselves for coming up with this idea. Chief Digital Officer Andrew Morse said CNN + is “the most significant launch for CNN since Ted Turner launched the network in June 1980”.


Much of the new streaming network is still unclear, including how much news network fans will have to pay for the service, although CNN has said it will not launch with a tier funded by. The advertisement. The company has yet to fully explain to the public why it should buy CNN +, which sounds to most … just like a traditional cable news channel. Just, you know, more expensive.

The same but different – As the name suggests, CNN + won’t just be CNN. It will be CNN plus… something. What this “something” is remains to be seen.

CNN + ‘s live news broadcasts will be completely separate from cable broadcasts. The company is not licensed to broadcast its current shows online due to its many long-term bundled agreements with cable companies – but the company has also noticed that its cable audience has been shrinking in recent years as people drop their cable packages. cable in favor of streaming services.

It seems likely that CNN + will primarily target those without access to the traditional news network, but it should also include original programming and something CNN calls an “interactive community,” which sounds more like a threat than to a selling point. .

Who is it for ? – Morse, who will head the new service, said CNN + would be “very different from anything on the market.” He didn’t develop that thought, however, letting us use our own imaginations to fill in the gaps. We’re having a hard time doing that, really – based on the information we’ve been given so far, CNN + is actually ringing the bell. exactly like everything else in the market, and a lot like CNN as we already know it.

CNN is right on one point: it is losing business to the wire-cutting movement. But its solution – a stand-alone subscription service – is probably not the best answer to this business problem. The majority of people who drop out of cable fall into younger generational categories, but those same people don’t. Miss CNN. They get their news from Twitter and Facebook and various websites. In this regard, CNN + is really missing the mark.

CNN + could find an audience by launching a package with another popular streaming service; this is, after all, how the news network has reached millions of viewers over the past decades. HBO Max, which is also owned by WarnerMedia, would be a great candidate for this kind of deal.

But Morse completely rejected this idea. To what we say: good luck with that.

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