Who did the executives at CNN really believe would be paying for their new subscription service?
Their audience currently consists of a shrinking handful of die-hard liberals from a bygone generation, not the young leftists they hope to attract.
Upon the launch of CNN+, a subscription-based service that features big names in liberal media, the liberal news network did not get the reception it hoped.
CNN+ has gotten off to a slow start, drawing low daily viewership in the first two weeks since its launch despite heavy financial backing.
The streaming service, which features big names such as Chris Wallace, Anderson Cooper, and Wolf Blitzer, has drawn fewer than 10,000 daily users despite a reported $300 million upfront investment in the service, sources familiar with the figures told CNBC. But the company appears optimistic about the future of CNN+ despite the flagging early viewership totals.
In light of the slow start, investment plans are expected to shift, and WarnerMedia is continuing its nearly six-week hiring freeze.
Though CNN has yet to release how many CNN+ subscribers it has, estimates fall below the launch numbers for Disney+, which posted more than 10 million subscribers on its first day.
One of CNN’s competitor outlets, Fox News, released its own subscription streaming service, Fox Nation, in 2018. Though the network has kept subscription numbers under close wraps since there are around 1.5 million paid subscribers, one report suggests.
The highly-publicized March 29 launch of CNN+ sought to make a big splash ahead of the merger between WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, and Discovery, which took effect on April 8.
About $300 million was spent on the subscription service, with added investments totaling $1 billion planned over the next four years.
CNN+ premiered on Roku on Monday, which is expected to help boost subscriber numbers. It still has not landed on Android TV.
The subscription costs $5.99 per month, though CNN is offering a limited-time deal for its launch and giving subscribers access for half the price at $2.99 per month.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney