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On Tuesday, Brian Stelter, Jemele Hill, Don Lemon, Rex Chapman and Chris Wallace headlined the debut of CNN+. But you and the rest of America probably didn’t notice, as hardly anyone has opted to pay $60 for year-long access to this bunch.
According to Fox Business, subscriptions are so low right now that CNN+ staffers are already bracing for layoffs. Discovery, which will soon own CNN, could also fold the service into Discovery+ by May.
Breaking: @CNNplus employees bracing for layoffs possibly as soon as May amid projections of lackluster sales of new streaming channel; CNN employees say new streaming channel could be merged into larger @discoveryplus as early as May unless subscriptions pick up 130 @FoxBusiness
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) March 30, 2022
“Unless subscriptions pick up.”
In other words, CNN+, a $120 million venture, isn’t going to last as a standalone service.
CNN+ was the brainchild of former network president Jeff Zucker. It was his idea, with his programming decisions. Zucker was the driving force behind CNN hiring Wallace away from Fox News last fall. Obviously, Zucker is no longer at CNN, and incoming president Chris Licht has no loyalties to CNN+.
In fact, the CNN+ “talents” undermine Licht’s reported plan for the network. Discovery CEO David Zasla hired Licht to re-establish CNN’s reputation as a credible news agency. That’s priority No. 1. And no one undermines credibility like race baiters Hill and Lemon.
Discovery could also fold CNN+ into HBO Max, which it will acquire in a merger with WarnerMedia this spring, or merge Max, CNN+ and Discovery+ together as one jumbo package.
But right now, there’s an oversaturation of streaming players on the market in general. So, Discovery will have a hard time selling consumers three separate services.
With such a bleak outlook, it’s no wonder CNN is already considering pulling resources from CNN+, not even five days in. It’s a dud. Did you subscribe? If so, let us know how it is. How’s Chapman’s program?
By the way, which is off to a worse start: CNN+ or Bomani Jones’ HBO show, the one that’s losing in the ratings to 2 am infomercials?
That sounds like a good topic for Brian Stelter’s new daily CNN+ show.