Bloomberg is reporting new details about CNN+, CNN’s forthcoming streaming news platform.
The service may launch in March and cost $5.99 per month. Additionally, CNN will be pulling the shows that currently exist on the WarnerMedia streaming platform HBO Max to put them on its own CNN+ service, and no longer plans to produce shows for HBO Max.
The multi-million dollar question now becomes: Will people be willing to pay for more CNN each month, in addition to what they’re getting with their cable subscriptions? Are there enough CNN super fans out there for this paid app to work? MSNBC has its diehard fans. Lord knows Fox News has its fanbase that watches the network 24/7 and consider its personalities to be like family members. CNN is a destination for big breaking news events and election coverage, but doesn’t attract the same interest when the news cycle is comparatively quiet. Yes, the network will beat MSNBC in 2021 among adults 25-54, but it limped to the finish line and will complete the year by posting steeper year-over-year ratings declines than its competition.
And there have been internal struggles at CNN, notably the Chris Cuomo saga, that could play a role in how energized people are to sign up for a CNN paid product.
Nevertheless, the network is betting that viewers will be willing to shell out $5.99 per month for new shows, namely original series and documentary programming, including its popular travel and food series hosted by Stanley Tucci, the recently-announced program from Eva Longoria, and the iconic Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. CNN has also asked production companies to develop docuseries on food and history for CNN+, Bloomberg reports.
CNN+ isn’t just betting on food and travel genre. It’s betting on big personalities in general. In addition to the Longoria announcement, CNN+ made headlines at the beginning of the week when it announced the hiring of longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace to host a show for the streaming service, a daily offering in which he will interview figures across politics, business, sports and culture.
In addition to Wallace, former NBC News correspondent and MSNBC anchor Kasie Hunt will anchor a politics program on the service. Additionally, CNN mainstays like Anderson Cooper, Van Jones and Don Lemon will likely have shows on CNN+, reports Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. Erin Burnett told us back in the fall that she too will contribute to CNN+, though she wasn’t sure at the time what exactly her responsibilities would entail.
Bloomberg also reports that CNN+ is also developing panel shows similar in format to Fox News’ hit show The Five, citing a source familiar with the development of CNN+.
The proposed March 2022 launch date means that the service would debut just a few months before CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia is expected to combine with Discovery. How the deal might impact the future of CNN+ remains to be seen. Among other brands, Discovery owns the Food Network, which could conflict with the travel and food-based programming planned for CNN+.
According to Bloomberg, WarnerMedia is in talks with streaming devices and internet providers to distribute CNN+. Reaching those deals will be crucial, since accessibility on high-profile platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV is essentially to driving the growth of a new streamer.
It will be interesting to see how this all pans out. We’ll certainly be on the lookout for more announcements pertaining to CNN+ in January.