At $5.99 a month, subscribers could expect on-demand access to live news shows, original documentaries, breaking news, and special reports. Up until the announcement that the service was shutting down, it had fewer than 100,000 subscribers.
Why CNN+ is shutting down just weeks after its inital launch:
The service will be out of commission by April 30. According to The New York Times, the company stated, "While today's decision is incredibly difficult, it is the right one for the long-term success of CNN. It allows us to refocus resources on the core products that drive our singular focus: further enhancing CNN's journalism and its reputation as a global news leader."
The shutdown comes as somewhat of a surprise considering it was only operating for a little under a month. CNN had apparently placed millions of dollars into the service and hired several employees including big-name stars such as former Fox personality Chris Wallace. This decision to stop the service comes after CNN's parent company WarnerMedia merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery.
Employees say the decison was "shocking" but "avoidable."
According to CNN Business, employees who had been hired to work for the service had a lot to say about the sudden end of the streaming service. CNN CEO Chris Licht stated in a memo that "all CNN+ employees will continue to be paid and receive benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital, and elsewhere in the Warner Bros Discovery family." But this wasn't enough to lessen the sting of the situation.
An anonymous CNN+ employee stated the main sentiment was "total and utter shock." The employee added, "At first people were really freaking out. And then towards the end of the meeting, it just turned to sadness. Every team was just huddled with each other."
Discovery's streaming boss, J.B. Perrette, stated that there was some frustration with leadership a CNN and Warner Media — in particular former execs Jeff Zucker who led CNN, and Jason Kilar, who led Warner Media. Alluding to the decision to forge ahead with the service despite the merger, Perrette commented, "Some of this was avoidable, but prior leadership decided to just keep going,"
Many believe the shut down was looming long before it happened.
The newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery has billions in debt as a result of the merger and executives are scrambling to cough up the estimated $3 billion outstanding. This debt is likely one of the straws that broke the camel's back in regards to the service ending. However, the company's financials are not the focus of the online conversation about the platform's downfall.
One tweet in particular commented on the oversight of leadership, "The most concerning thing about CNN+ is that the people who are so disconnected from 2022 reality that they truly thought it was going to work are the same people who decide what information and analysis millions of people get."