CNN+, the streaming service by CNN launched just a month ago, will close on April 30 and its manager will leave the company. The move comes just a week after the Discovery Group acquired WarnerMedia, the conglomerate that includes Warner Bros, CNN and HBO.
As reported by CNN Business, CNN+ will cease to exist after a decision by the new management following the $42 billion merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery, to form the new entertainment giant, Warner Bros. Discovery —Discovery Inc (NASDAQ:WBD)— to compete with other streaming giants such as Disney + —Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS)— and Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX).
Precisely, before the agreement was closed, Discovery executives had already expressed their doubts about the service's strategy, sources familiar with the company told The Wall Street Journal.
CNN —founded by Ted Turner a little over 40 years ago— has recently restructured its leadership and although the new CEO, Chris Licht, has not yet started at the company, he will have to reorganize the finances after a $300 million investment to develop CNN+.
Discovery's streaming boss J.B. Perrette said in a statement: “In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling.”
Perrette added, “We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world's premier reputational assets, will play an important role there.”
When notifying staff that CNN+ would cease to exist, it is reported that CEO Chris Licht said that this was a “uniquely shitty situation.”
Licht said n an internal memo, “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.”
Licht told employees that CNN+ had been “an incredibly successful launch” but it did not fit the new company's plans. He further said that the situation could have been avoided had prior CNN and WarnerMedia heads —Jeff Zucker and Jason Kilar, respectively— not continued with the initiative amid the impending merger.
The launch took place two weeks before the completion of Discovery’s deal, with CNN securing the likes of Kasie Hunt from NBC and Chris Wallace from Fox News for the new project.