Warner Bros. Discovery to Shut Down CNN+

By A.J. Katz 

Less than a month after launch, parent company Warner Bros. Discovery is shutting down highly-publicized subscription-based streaming news service CNN+.

The decision comes less than two weeks after WarnerMedia and Discovery formally merged. Operations will end April 30.

“CNN will be strongest as part of WBD’s streaming strategy which envisions news as an important part of a compelling broader offering along with sports, entertainment, and nonfiction content,” said Chris Licht, Chairman and CEO of CNN Worldwide in a statement. “We have therefore made the decision to cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investment on CNN’s core news-gathering operations and in further building CNN Digital.”

The streaming service, which cost $5.99 per month and $59.99 annually, features 8-12 live daily shows, new CNN+ Original Series and a library of more than 1,000 hours of programming from the CNN Original Series and CNN Films teams. It currently has around 150,000 subscribers, per multiple reports. CNN’s original hope 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.

CNN+ customers will receive prorated refunds of subscription fees.

Andrew Morse, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of CNN Worldwide and Head of CNN+, will leave the company. CNN has not said how many other staffers hired specifically for the service will be leaving.

Both Axios and CNBC reported last week that the service was experiencing subscription issues with the possibility of cuts, both in terms of investment and jobs.

Variety’s Brian Steinberg broke today’s news.

“This is not a decision about quality,” Licht added. “We appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organization with terrific talent and compelling programming. But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice.”

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