CNN+, the streaming service that was hyped as one of the most significant developments in the history of CNN, will shut down on April 30, just one month after it launched.
CNN+ customers “will receive prorated refunds of subscription fees,” the company said.
The decision was made by new management after CNN’s former parent company, WarnerMedia, merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery earlier this month.
The prior management team’s vision for CNN+ runs counter to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s plan to house all of the company’s brands under one streaming service. Some CNN+ programming may eventually live on through that service. Other programming will shift to CNN’s main television network.
“In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling,” Discovery’s streaming boss J.B. Perrette said in a statement.
“We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world’s premier reputational assets, will play an important role there,” Perrette added.
Perrette and incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht notified staffers of the decision in a meeting on Thursday afternoon. Licht bluntly told employees it was a “uniquely shitty situation.”
Hundreds of CNN+ staffers may lose their jobs. Licht said in an internal memo that “all CNN+ employees will continue to be paid and receive benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital and elsewhere in the Warner Bros. Discovery family.”
Staffers who aren’t absorbed elsewhere in the company will receive a minimum of six months of severance, he added.
An agent for one CNN+ host, who was set to anchor a weekly show on the streaming service, described their client’s program at the network as facing an uncertain future. “It’s all TBD,” the person said.
But the agent added that the network has gone out of its way to make clear that it is committed to finding roles for CNN+ hosts.