More details about CNN’s streaming news platform CNN+ are coming to the surface.
The LA Times’ Steve Battaglio reported Wednesday that the service is scheduled to launch in the final week of March. “Initially, the service will be offered for $2.99 a month, a rate locked in for life as long as the account is active,” Battaglio writes. “When that deal expires, CNN+ will be available for $5.99 a month, the same price as the Fox News streaming service Fox Nation.”
CNN announced Thursday morning that in addition to the $2.99 and $5.99 monthly price points, CNN+ will also be offered for $59.99 per year.
Early subscribers that sign up within the first four weeks directly will have access to the “Deal of a Lifetime,” or 50% off the monthly plan—for life—as long as they remain subscribers. That’s where the $2.99 per month price point comes from.
CNN also has plans to eventually offer a lower priced version of CNN+ that will be ad-supported—and it will also eventually be available with HBO Max.
Despite the recent exits of Jeff Zucker and his deputy Allison Gollust, two figures highly involved in the planning and launch of CNN+, the $100 million service is still full steam ahead.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations with our talent and reassured them that we’re going forward,” says CNN digital boss and head of CNN+ Andrew Morse. “It’s not what any of us expected, but things don’t always go to plan. My only message to them has been, ‘Keep going.’ CNN+ is so important to CNN that it’s bigger than any one of us.”
Speaking of CNN+ staffers, Battaglio spoke with former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace about what to expect from his new CNN+ show, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? The four-night-per-week streaming offering will feature interviews with personalities from politics, culture, entertainment and sports. A 2022 version of Larry King Live meets Charlie Rose.
“With streaming we don’t have to make a [commercial] break or go to the top of the hour,” Wallace told the Times. “I can go as long as I want.”
The longtime newsman said he’s excited “to be on the ground floor” at CNN+—and made an interesting comparison between the platform and his most-recent professional stomping grounds.
“When I moved from ABC to Fox in 2003, people said, ‘Omigosh, you’re going from a network to cable.’ I scoffed at that,” said Wallace. “It turned out we had plenty of impact from a cable platform,—and I don’t doubt that six months from now we’ll have plenty of impact from a streaming platform.”
Morse said the goal is to turn CNN+ into a global service, in the vein of Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.
“There’s no other brand, with the possible exception of the BBC, that resonates globally the way CNN does,” he said.