3 JUN 2021

CNN SOLIDIFIES STREAMING PLANS AMID WARNER-DISCOVERY MERGER

The network plans to produce original content for its new streaming platform, CNN+, a separate app offering fresh titles that differ from content offered on HBO Max and other outlets.

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CNN will be part of the newly merged Warner Bro. Discovery and will launch a new subscription streaming service, CNN Plus (CNN +) within the next year. The streaming service, known as CNN+, would be an app separate from similar services like HBO Max offered by parent organization WarnerMedia.

CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker revealed the new strategy to its staff. According to the Wall Street Journal, the new streaming platform will collectively offer exclusive originals, featuring CNN anchors like Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon, who reportedly had incentives in their recently re-upped talent deals tied to OTT subscriber growth metrics. The network reportedly won’t rely on its on-air programming for content but will instead create new programming, including live shows and long-form documentaries.

 CNN President Jeff Zucker said the merger would not affect WarnerMedia’s plans for CNN+ and that the service should launch in 2022. The executive is set to depart the company later this year.

In preparation, CNN is also looking to hire producers and contributors, and is seeking additional executive producers to manage the programming. The network is last among its major competitors to engage in the direct-to-consumer market. The cable channel's ratings have fallen since the end of the election season but ratings are projected to rise again soon. In April of last year, CNN averaged the No. 1 audience in all of cable.