Despite the initial announcement that CNN+ would remain on corporate life support until Saturday, CNN is ending the streaming service’s misery two days earlier than planned.
What The New York Times called one of the “most spectacular media failures in years, a $300 million experiment that ended abruptly with layoffs in the offing and careers in disarray,” was to cease streaming Thursday after launching on March 29.
“You know things are broken on the corporate side of things when even the execution gets moved up,” Phil Nickinson wrote on digitaltrends.
“Whether CNN+ dies on April 28 or April 30 doesn’t matter at all — it’ll be just as dead. But it just goes to show the dysfunction behind the scenes following the merger of WarnerMedia, which owned CNN, with Discovery, and the executive shake-up that followed.”
— Yitzchok (@Yitzy_27) April 28, 2022
CNN, which last week announced it was pulling the plug on its ballyhooed streaming experiment, issued a revised statement telling subscribers that the end was even closer.
“CNN+ streaming will come to an end on April 28, 2022. If you purchased your subscription directly from us, we will be providing a full refund for your subscription fee back to your original CNN+ payment method by May 28, 2022,” CNN said.
“If you purchased your subscription via a third party, such as Apple, Google, Roku, or Amazon, that third party will process a full refund of your subscription fee in accordance with their respective refund policies and timelines.”
Nickinson said he believed the change was to align the end of CNN+ with the date when monthly subscriptions were going to renew.
Noting that “those who signed up for the monthly plan did so at a 50% discount,” Nickinson said subscribers “can expect a cool $3 back in their wallets.”
Try not to spend all $3 of that refund at once. pic.twitter.com/XMq48iWTPo
— Phil (@philnickinson) April 27, 2022
Nickinson added another dig at the failed streaming service.
“CNN+ notes in a FAQ that your CNN account will still be active after April 28. But all of the content — including what’s already premiered — will simply cease to exist,” he wrote. “Like it never happened.”
The failure had been the butt of multiple jokes. Greg Gutfeld, a co-host of the Fox News show “The Five,” recently took a shot at former Fox host Chris Wallace, who fled Fox for CNN+.
“OK, so you see Hillary was supposed to come back. You got Bernie, you got Mitt — the Democratic bench is thinner than Chris Wallace’s demo reel from CNN+,” Gutfeld said.
The Hollywood Reporter aligned with The New York Times in reporting that WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN, invested approximately $300 million into the CNN+ project.
— Dr. Divya Sharma (@VisualCJS) April 21, 2022
Scott Purdy, KPMG’s national media industry leader, said the troubles at CNN+ and Netflix are a sign that streaming is not a gold mine, according to Variety.
“What you are facing is a period of no growth or slow growth that people had thought was five years out — but is happening now,” he said. “There’s no room in the U.S. market for 10 providers to have 100 million-plus subs.”
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