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CNN + will close on April 30, just a month after launch

Warner Bros. Discovery will shut down CNN + on April 30, just weeks after launching a standalone streaming service.

“It’s not a decision about quality; we appreciate all the work, ambition and creativity that has been put into creating CNN +, an organization with amazing talent and compelling programming,” said Chris Licht, chairman and CEO of CNN Worldwide on Thursday. . “But for our customers and CNN it will be best to have an easier choice of streaming.”

The company also announced that CNN + CEO Andrew Morse is leaving Warner Bros. Discovery after the transition. Alex McCallum, currently CNN + general manager and product manager, will run CNN Digital after Morse leaves.

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon sits on the open track during a preview of the International Motor Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City on April 13, 2022.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

WarnerMedia launched a standalone news service less than a month ago, on March 29th. In the two weeks since its launch, it has gained less than 10,000 daily active viewers, CNBC reported last week. The company said customers will receive a pro rata refund of the subscription fee.

According to a person familiar with the case, CNN’s new head Licht worked behind the scenes with other Warner Bros. executives. Discovery for a few weeks to analyze the streaming strategy for CNN. The decision to close CNN + is based on his recommendation, said a man who asked not to be named because the discussion was closed. The official start date of Licht is no earlier than May 1.

Warner Bros. Discovery has not officially announced its plans and ambitions for the broadcast, but CNBC reports that the goal is to combine HBO Max and Discovery + with other WarnerMedia programs – including potentially live news and sports – and offer all content together as a competitor to Netflix.

If the goal is to maximize the number of subscribers for a large package, allocating resources to CNN + rather than collapsing that programming into a larger package may be the opposite of the company’s strategy.

Comprehensive meeting on Thursday

Licht and head of global streaming Warner Bros. Discovery J. B. Perret was among the executives who addressed CNN staff during a comprehensive meeting on Thursday, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Licht was the first to speak, empathizing with staff that the rapid closure of CNN + was “her unique situation,” people said.

Peret told staff that when the new management decided that CNN + was not strategically part of the company’s plans, the most logical step was to close it as soon as possible “and not for a second longer,” said two people.

He also cited previous launches of Discovery niche streaming networks such as Food Network Kitchen and GolfTV, and said the company concluded that consumers don’t want to pay more money for small services. According to people familiar with the meeting, Warner Bros. Discovery will take a risk on the broadcast, but will not make an effort where it already knows the end result.

According to them, Perrette asked several questions from staff about who should be responsible for the failed launch. Peret blamed previous WarnerMedia management for continuing to promote the product, even knowing that Discovery’s management was suspicious of the product’s viability.

The mood among the staff was mostly anger and mistrust, the two said. CNN + has more than 600 employees working on the show, people say. Many of these employees will receive an official announcement of their release on Friday and will have the opportunity to re-apply for a job at CNN, according to people.

In an internal note, Licht told CNN + employees that they would “continue to receive payments and benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital and elsewhere in the Warner Bros. Discovery family. At the end of this period, any Employee CNN +, who is leaving, will receive a minimum of six months of severance pay (depending on the experience in CNN).

The future of CNN + programming

CNN has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in new talent and programs for CNN +. According to one person familiar with the changes, some of these programs will move to HBO Max, while other series may be hosted on CNN.com and in the free CNN app. They said some new talent could take on roles on CNN’s line station, but Licht will make those decisions in the coming weeks.

On March 29, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Killar said in a series of tweets that CNN + was “just as important to CNN’s mission as line service has been for the past 42 years. It’s hard to overestimate how important this moment is for CNN. “

In a month, almost a day, CNN + will cease to exist.

CNN + will close on April 30, just a month after launch

Source link CNN + will close on April 30, just a month after launch

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