CNN+ faces big cuts after streaming service only draws 10,000 subscribers – despite execs predicting two million in first year
- Two weeks following it’s launch, only 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis
- The low subscription numbers has led CNN to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the original $1 billion investment into the service over the next four years
- The low numbers fall short of original subscription expectations, which sought to bring in around 2 million subscribers in the U.S during the first year
- Former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar launched CNN+ two weeks before the company merged with Discovery
- It is not yet clear what incoming CNN chief Chris Licht will do with the streaming service once he joins Warner Bros. Discovery on May 1
CNN+ is facing possible big cuts after the streaming service only managed to draw in 10,000 daily users weeks after its launch.
Two weeks following the March 29 start, only 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC.com
The reported low numbers have led the news company to cut hundreds of millions from the original projected $1 billion investment over the next four years, Axios reported.
The 10,000 daily users fall short of original subscription expectations, which sought to bring in around 2 million subscribers in the U.S during the first year and 15-18 million over four years, Axios reported.
CNN has not officially released its numbers.
Andrew Morse, CNN’s chief digital officer (pictured) is leading the new CNN+ team
CNN+ launched at a base price of $5.99 per month, or $59.99 for an annual subscription, but subscribers who signed up in the first four weeks got half off for life
Former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar launched CNN+ just two weeks before the company merged with Discovery. It is not clear what incoming CNN chief Chris Licht will decide to do with the streaming service amid the news of weak subscriptions once he joins Warner Bros. Discovery on May 1, Axios reported.
Despite reports, a spokesperson for CNN said the news network is satisfied with the streaming service.
‘We continue to be happy with the launch and its progress after only two weeks,’ a CNN spokesperson said.
CNN+ launched last month with a base price of $5.99 per month, or $59.99 for an annual subscription. Subscribers who signed up the first four weeks were eligible for half off the regular monthly price for life, in what CNN is called the ‘deal of a lifetime.’
After the promotion ends, the CNN+ monthly base price will be the same as rival Fox News’ established streaming service, Fox Nation. Fox Nation became a streaming service in 2018.
CNN, a division of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, invested a reported $120 million in CNN+ and recruited top talent, including Fox News veteran Chris Wallace, actress Eva Longoria, and Alison Roman, a former New York Times food writer fired by bosses at the paper for criticizing shamed social media star Chrissy Teigen.
CNN+ features live daily news programming, original series, true crime shows and food and travel docuseries.
‘Nothing like CNN+ exists. There is no news and non-fiction streaming subscription offering available today, and only CNN can create and deliver a global news product with this kind of value to consumers,’ claimed CNN+ boss Andrew Morse in a statement last month.
‘We’re thrilled to offer CNN+’s world class journalism, premium storytelling and Interview Club platform at this attractive price,’ he said of the new pricing scheme.
The streaming service market giants, as it stands now
CNN joined a growing market of streaming services with the debut of its CNN+ service, including:
- Netflix – known for its original television shows and for airing other shows no longer available elsewhere, the lowest tier for the service costs $9 per month
- Hulu – which offers next-day access to many prime-time shows, some of which it revived, as well as new movies. It costs $6 per month with ads, or $12 per month without ads
- Amazon Prime Video – included in one’s Amazon Prime account, Amazon Prime features some original shows
- Apple TV+ – focused primarily on its own original content, some of which have been Emmy-nominated. It costs $5 per month, or one year free with the purchase of a new Apple product
- Paramount Plus – formerly CBS All Access, it now includes MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, BET, Nickelodeon shows, as well as a library of Paramount movies and CBS News for $5 per month with ads or $10 per month with no ads
- Disney+ – includes all of the Disney classics, shows and movies from the Disney channel, as well as classic and original Star Wars and Marvel content for $6 per month or $70 per year
- Peacock – includes some NBC classics for free with ads and NBC news, but originals and full seasons are restricted to those who have Peacock Premium, for $5 a month. An ad-free version costs another $5 per month
- HBO Max – has all of the HBO original series, thousands of classic movies, several television shows and new original projects for $15 per month