CNN’s streaming service CNN+ is seemingly imploding, with Warner Bros. Discovery suspending all external marketing spending as it determines the next steps for the service, Axios reported.
Warner Bros. Discovery laid off CNN’s chief financial officer Brad Ferrer with Discovery’s current chief financial officer Neil Chugani as the media giant attempts to restructure the finance team, Axios reported Tuesday, citing five unidentified sources. Some CNN+ employees have been bracing for layoffs, though, perhaps as early as May, Fox Business senior correspondent Charles Gasparino reported in late March.
While Warner Bros. Discovery moves to make CNN+, which has approximately just 150,000 subscribers, more profitable, executives within CNN see the streaming service as a possible lifeline for the network in years ahead, according to Axios. Had CNN+ been profitable, CNN’s long-term revenue would’ve increased given the boom around digital media, but things don’t seem to be turning out according to plan.
Discovery executives are reportedly dissatisfied that the network launched the service prior to merging with Warner Bros. Discovery because they felt it would’ve been easier to boost CNN+ if it was more in line with Discovery’s goals. Executives see the possibility of turning some of the CNN+ content into programming that could be put on HBO Max while other content can simply go to CNN’s app or be made available for free and paid for by ads, Axios reported.
Discovery executives are also trying to rein in CNN’s programming and instead turn it into programming focusing on more breaking news, a stark contrast from the content CNN+ offers, which Axios described as “soft news content.” (RELATED: ‘CNN Pushed The Russian Collusion Hoax’: Student Confronts Brian Stelter During Conference)
However, CNN’s Oliver Darcy tried doing his part to boost subscription to the service, urging people to sign up for CNN+ to “watch @EvanMcS travel the country and eat burgers.”
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 31, 2022
It’s unclear whether his valiant effort resulted in mass subscriptions.
But data shows more people prefer to watch a YouTube video of paint drying than tune into CNN+, Newsbusters recently reported. With CNN+ having fewer than 10,000 active daily users, a 10-hour video of paint drying on Youtube has nearly 1.1. million viewers while a Kickstarter campaign for potato salad made more than $55,000 in their first month of subscription fees, much higher than CNN+, Newsbusters noted.