Three weeks after its launch, CNN’s new streaming service is already planning to shut down.
The media giant confirmed Thursday Warner Bros. Discovery will shutter the streaming news service on April 30.
In a statement Thursday, CNN Worldwide Chairman and CEO Chris Licht said the network is part of the company’s broader streaming vision, and expects to combine elements of it with a planned merger of HBO Max and Discovery+, the company’s two entertainment-focused streaming services.
“We have therefore made the decision to cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investment on CNN’s core news-gathering operations and in further building CNN Digital,” said Licht.
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Andrew Morse, chief digital officer of CNN Worldwide and the head of CNN+, will leave the company following a transition period.
The decision to drop CNN+ marks a stunning reversal for the media giant, who had billed the fledgling service as one of the most important launches since CNN debuted more than 40 years ago. But WarnerMedia, CNN’s former parent, was acquired by Discovery on April 11, and the new owner had a different strategic vision for its streaming networks.
“We’re not just putting news anchors behind desks and have them read off the teleprompter for 24 hours a day,” Morse told USA TODAY about how CNN+ would be complementary to the network. But CNN+ offered no live feed of the cable-news service, due to agreements with cable operators, dampening enthusiasm for the service, which had some live talk shows and library content.
The service launched on March 28 at $5.99 a month, or $59.99 a year. Warner Bros. Discovery said customers will received prorated refunds for subscription fees.
Chris Wallace among top-tier talent recruited for CNN+
The service featured a variety of programs and recruited top news talent, including former Fox News host Chris Wallace, who hosted “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?”
Licht said in a statement the decision to cease operations about CNN+ was not about the quality of the programming.
“We appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organization with terrific talent and compelling programming,” he said. “But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice.”
This story is developing.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.