[TF Analysis] CNN Eyes Comeback for Streaming Service After Brief Hiatus

Li Nguyen

CNN, a longstanding leader in news broadcasting, is considering a return to streaming services. The return may be in the form of a new platform following the brief, unceremonious demise of CNN+ last year.

What’s Happening & Why This Matters

CNN+ owns its spot in media history by becoming the shortest-lived streaming service when it was discontinued only a month after its debut. Launched on March 29, 2022 and shut down by April 28, 2022, the service was a victim of poor timing and corporate restructuring. The rapid closure followed the merger of CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery. The new company shifted priorities to other streaming services like Discovery+ and Max (formerly HBO Max).

CNN is part of AT&T, Warner Bros and Discovery Brands that consolidated into Warner Bros. Discover in 2022.

Despite this setback, Mark Thompson, who became CNN’s head in August 2023, shared with the Financial Times that CNN is contemplating another subscription-based digital platform. Thompson highlighted that while no concrete decisions have been made, the probability of launching a new digital streaming service is high. He stressed the importance of patience and understanding that building a successful platform will take time, suggesting a cautious and deliberate approach this round.

Key Insights & Impact

The proposed service (which has no name) aims not to repeat the past. CNN leadership wants to forge a new path that might integrate various content under a single, more attractive subscription model. Thompson’s cautious optimism is shaped by the lessons learned from the hasty rollout and subsequent failure of CNN+. A new streaming service suggests a refined strategic approach in a crowded, complex digital streaming market.

Streaming is an incredibly competitive space, not only for news. Entertain is the leading driver for streamers. Credit: Nielsen

The initial CNN+ venture managed to attract an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 subscribers in just three weeks. The number, while not staggering, demonstrates potential despite operational challenges. Shuddering the service was a significant blow driven by the logistical and strategic complications introduced by the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger.

TF Summary: What’s Next

As CNN contemplates re-entering the streaming wars, the strategy is clear: learn from the past and proceed with cautious innovation. The focus will be on creating a comprehensive service that offers simplicity and value, potentially combining various media assets under a unified subscription model.

This move sets a new course for CNN in digital media that eyes long-term success rather than a fleeting presence in the competitive streaming market. Warner Bros. Discovery’s journey is one to watch with the media giant hopes to pivot previous failures into a long-term triumph.

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By Li Nguyen “TF Emerging Tech”
Liam ‘Li’ Nguyen is a persona characterized by his deep involvement in the world of emerging technologies and entrepreneurship. With a Master's degree in Computer Science specializing in Artificial Intelligence, Li transitioned from academia to the entrepreneurial world. He co-founded a startup focused on IoT solutions, where he gained invaluable experience in navigating the tech startup ecosystem. His passion lies in exploring and demystifying the latest trends in AI, blockchain, and IoT
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