Warner Bros. Discovery is ready to call it quits for CNN+. Variety reported Thursday morning that sources said the company would be making an announcement to staffers today.
That announcement happened at noon Thursday when Warner Bros. Discovery leadership announced that it will be shutting down CNN+ on April 30, one month after the launch of the news streaming service.
“This decision is in line with WBD’s broader direct-to-consumer strategy,” said incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht 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.” Zaslav has been open in the recent past about his desire to combine all of the company’s streaming-video assets, which also include Discovery+ and HBO Max, under a single umbrella.
The news streaming service launched on March 29 with a lineup of exclusive live news reporting, new original series and new interactive features. CNN hoped to pull subscribers in with new content from an impressive list of on-air talent, including The Newscast with Wolf Blitzer, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? and Anderson Cooper Full Circle.
The app immediately hit a bump in the road when it launched without full device support but quickly added the major missing player, Roku, to its list of compatible devices. Subscribers also spoke out about the app not offering a live feed of CNN unless the user signed in with live TV credentials. The general feeling around the app seemed to be that it wasn’t offering enough to justify the monthly cost of $5.99.
Earlier this month, The Verge reported that CNN+ was “struggling to gain viewers,” with sources saying the app was “raking in fewer than 10,000 viewers per day.” Sensor Tower showed that there were only 18,000 new installations of the CNN app on the day the service launched.
WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, merged with Discovery on April 8. Ahead of the merger, CNN president Jeff Zucker resigned from the company. WarnerMedia company reportedly invested $100 million in CNN+ but the less than stellar launch and initial feedback is likely to cause an early end to the app.