Less than one month after it launched, streaming service CNN + will wind down operations as Warner Bros. Discovery retools its streaming strategy.
Launched on March 29th, the service is set to shut down on April 30th and subscribers will receive prorated refunds for their fees. Employees were informed of the decision Thursday by incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht.
WarnerMedia reportedly spent some $ 300 million on the launch of the service which was heavily criticized for being too little, too late. Then of course came the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery with mostly new executives in charge and everything is up for review. In a statement, Licht says:
“As we become Warner Bros. Discovery, 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.
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. This is not a decision about quality; 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. ”
Despite the shutdown, it’s expected CNN programming will become an important piece of WB Discovery’s overall streaming lineup.
Some shows are expected to find their way to HBO Max which is becoming the centerpiece of the company’s streaming efforts for the near future – at least until a combined Warner Bros. Discovery service is launched.