CNN+ Subscription Service Will Shut Down in April; “Doom” Prediction by Axios Vindicated


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Originally published April 20, 2022. Updated April 21, 2022.

The subscription service CNN+ will shut down at the end of April, according to an afternoon news article co-written by CNN host Brian Stelter and senior media reporter Oliver Darcy. The breaking news comes hot on the tail of an Axios piece predicting the “doom” for the platform.

CNN CEO Chris Licht told staffers the situation was “uniquely sh*tty” in a Thursday afternoon meeting. According to CNN Business, hundreds of CNN+ staffers will lose their positions. CNN+ customers will receive refunds for their remaining subscription time.

Original reporting

CNN+ is showing signs of complete failure, according to an Axios Media Trends writer. In the Economy & Business section, Sara Fischer outlined how the subscription service CNN+ may be doomed to failure. 

According to the piece, Warner Bros. Discovery has suspended all external marketing spending for CNN+. They have also laid off CNN’s chief financial officer Brad Ferrer, as they attempt to figure out what to do with the subscription service. It’s reported that other executives are likely to be removed from their positions as a result of CNN+’s failure to pick up speed in the news and entertainment marketplace.

CNN+ was expected to bring in 2 million U.S. subscribers in the first year, but only has 150,000 as of April 2022. CNN executives saw CNN+ as a “lifeline” for the news network, according to Fischer. 

CNN has two primary sources of revenue for its network: network advertising and cable subscriptions. The company sells ad slots during commercial breaks between 24/7 news coverage. Cable companies collect revenue from homes and businesses, and give a cut of this revenue to CNN. These cable subscriptions account for around 50% of their $1.5 billion in annual revenue. 

Primetime CNN anchor Brian Stelter made headlines earlier this month at a University of Chicago Institute of Politics event, where he was blasted by a college freshman for disregarding journalistic ethics and engaging in media bias.  Project Veritas also covered the news network in a video exposé last year, documenting a CNN producer who was inappropriately fantasizing about an underage girl. 

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