After Netflix reported a shrinking subscriber base indicating that streaming video has reached peak saturation, CNN has decided to pull the plug on its own premium streaming service just weeks after launch. Netflix faced its first consumer base loss in a decade as competitor services, paid premium ones alongside free pirate websites, have proliferated.
Despite trying to lure new subscribers in with the promise that they would lock in their price for a lifetime, the services own lifetime numbered just a handful of weeks. The executive in charge of the project is set to leave the company, and the fate of the nearly five hundred employees hired to work on the CNN+ project remains unclear.
CNN had managed to attract more than 100,000 subscribers to the service in the first week, but parent company Warner Discovery’s new management, under CEO David Zaslav, is focused on cutting costs, and did not share the previous head’s ambition grow the service into this new market by filling this niche.
The parent company is instead focused on making HBO Max the headline of its product line, and intends to fold another competitor service, Discovery+, into their offerings later.
This restructuring takes place as the company has become one of the largest media and communications conglomerates in the world, combining AT&T, CNN, Discovery, and Warner’s other media holdings and franchises, raising questions with anti-trust advocates over the scale of the firm and the vertical integration between content producer and telecom provider.