Report: CNN+ Suspends All External Marketing, Lays Off CNN CFO

By Mollie Cahillane 

It’s not looking good for CNN+.

Less than a month after the streaming service launched, parent company Warner Bros. Discovery suspended all external marketing for CNN+, according to a report from Axios.

The company also laid off CNN chief financial officer Brad Ferrer, replacing him with Neil Chugani, Discovery’s current CFO for streaming and international, as part of a broader financial restructuring.


The moves come just weeks after WarnerMedia and Discovery completed the merger into Warner Bros. Discovery, with the plan to eventually build one streaming offering centered around HBO Max.

Sara Fischer, who published the report, writes: “Discovery executives are frustrated that the service launched. If CNN held off launching CNN+ until after the merger, it would have been easier to pivot the company’s efforts towards something better aligned with Discovery’s goals.”

The streaming service currently has around 150,000 subscribers, and CNN’s original plan was for the service to become profitable in four years with $1 billion invested. Around $300 million has already been spent on CNN+, which includes roughly $100 million on marketing.

The subscription-based streamer, which charges $5.99 a month or $59.99 annually, launched earlier this month on Roku, North America’s most-used connected TV platform. However, Fischer reports that with marketing suspended, there are concerns that growth will be short-lived.

Fischer cites sources within the company that say executives are frustrated that new leadership is “moving quickly to dismantle what they see as an eventual lifeline for the cable network,” believing that a profitable service would’ve diversified CNN’s revenue long-term around a new digital asset.

Axios also reports that CNN is considering replacing Chris Cuomo‘s former 9 p.m. slot with a live newscast, as opposed to perspective programming.

CNN+ did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Axios report.