News and Analysis

CNN’s New Subscription Streaming Service Craters After Launch, Big Cuts Coming: Reports
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 28: Chris Wallace attends the CNN+ Launch Event at PEAK NYC Hudson Yards on March 28, 2022 in New York City.
Noam Galai / Getty Images CNN+

Big cuts are reportedly expected to be coming down the pipes for CNN’s new subscription streaming service, CNN+, after the service failed to garner even 10,000 daily users.

“Fewer than 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis two weeks into its existence,” CNBC reported. “To put that daily user number in perspective, CNN’s cable network suffered a sharp decline in viewership last year but still rang up an average of 773,000 total viewers a day.”

The report noted that there is widespread skepticism over whether there is enough demand to even sustain the service moving forward.

Axios reported that CNN’s investment in CNN+ is expected to be dramatically cut and that projections for how many subscribers that service was expected to get will also be significantly reduced.

“The news giant was initially planning to invest around $1 billion in the service over the next four years,” Axios reported. “CNN executives, with help from consulting firm McKinsey, originally expected to bring in around 2 million subscribers in the U.S. in the service’s first year and 15-18 million after four years.”

The report said that “hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be cut” from the projected $1 billion investment in the service and that the company’s new leadership team has not yet decided the fate of the struggling service.

“They originally planned for the service to break even after four years,” the report added. “Much of the subscriber opportunity executives see comes from international markets.”

Ex-WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who left the company last week, pushed the launch of CNN+ before CNN merged with Discovery.

“It’s ahead of my expectations in terms of where the subscribers are, the engagement, the receptiveness that we’re getting in terms of people’s response to the journalists of CNN+,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of that team.”

CNN+ made a big splash in the news when they announced that they had yanked Chris Wallace away from Fox News.

The move garnered some of the following reactions online after it was announced last December:

  • Gerry Callahan, radio host: “Best news of the weekend! This guy is the absolute worst. Maybe he can slide into the 9 pm slot at CNN and talk endlessly about his two favorite subjects: white supremacy and global warming. Good riddance to this fraud.”
  • Jeremy Boreing, Co-CEO, The Daily Wire: “His performance as a 2020 presidential debate moderator should disqualify him from any position in journalism. Second only to Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz. Candy Crowley seems quaint after. Wallace may have been a straight news man before 2016, but Trump unmade him.”
  • Caleb Hull, digital media strategist: “Chris Wallace going from Fox News to CNN is a big yikes career move. CNN’s audience will hate Chris Wallace. They are tuning in for 24/7 coverage of January 6th and whatever other outrage brings them the ratings. This isn’t Chris Wallace’s style at all.”
  • Jesse Kelly, political commentator: “CNN must have money-whipped him bad. That’s the only reason an established guy would drastically reduce his audience on purpose. Guessing Wallace got PAID.”
  • David Reaboi, political commentator: “Chris Wallace going to CNN is perfect. It’ll enrage the CNN viewer who’s told all day on that network that Fox News is evil personified.”
  • Kurt Schlichter, attorney: “Chris Wallace joined a network packed with sex pests.”
  • Todd Starnes, commentator: “Wait. CNN really thinks people are going to pay to watch Don Lemon, Brian Stelter and Chris Wallace?”
  • Steve Deace, The Blaze: “I thought Chris Wallace was a loathsome, biased, hacktastic douche bag long before Donald Trump decided to become a politician.”
  • John Nolte, Breitbart: “Lol, Chris Wallace… Fox News just dumped the one guy who can’t win his time slot. … CNN celebrating Chris Wallace joining their sunken ship makes perfect sense. He’s another lying leftist sitting in last place in the ratings. He’ll fit right in.”
  • Ann Coulter, author: “I’m guessing Chris Wallace is going to ‘CNN Plus’ because ‘CNN Minus’ would be redundant.”


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