New Warner Bros-Discovery tie-up to shut down CNN+ a month after launch

New Warner Bros-Discovery tie-up to shut down CNN+ a month after launch

The company charged $5.99 a month for the product, the same as Fox News' paid streaming service.
The company charged $5.99 a month for the product, the same as Fox News' paid streaming service.

The new Warner Bros-Discovery merger is shutting down CNN+ after just a few weeks of its debut, as the company’s new leaders reassess their online strategy and seek to cut costs following their big merger.

The service will stop operating on April 30, according to a statement emailed Thursday. Customers will receive prorated refunds of their subscription fees.

Andrew Morse, who ran CNN+, will be leaving after a transition period. Alex MacCallum, general manager of the service, will now be in charge of the network’s digital operations.

Discovery Inc. completed its merger with AT&T’s media business earlier this month. Management, including CEO David Zaslav, has said they are considering combining the company’s online offerings, which include HBO Max and Discovery+ , into a single subscription for consumers. CNN+ was championed internally by Jeff Zucker, the veteran media executive who resigned in February. “Our customers and CNN will be better served with a simpler broadcast option,” Chris Licht, CNN’s new CEO, said in the statement.

CNN+ offered a mix of lifestyle and traditional news programming, including a daily talk show by Chris Wallace and a food and travel series hosted by actress Eva Longoria. The company charged $5.99 a month for the product, the same as Fox News’ paid streaming service.

Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that the service surpassed 100,000 subscribers in the first week after it launched on March 29. Warner Bros. Discovery said that CNN content will be a key component of its streaming offerings going forward.

When owned by AT&T, CNN spent hundreds of millions of dollars programming and marketing the product, which executives described as the news organization’s most ambitious new venture since the network’s founding more than 40 years ago.

Zaslav, who was not allowed to make managerial decisions in the business until the deal was closed, promised at least $3 billion in cost savings as a result of the merger.

Shares of Warner Bros-Discovery fell as much as 8.7% to $21.01 in New York, in part on continued skepticism about the future of streaming following Netflix’s surprise drop in subscribers this week.

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