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CNN+ Off to Rocky Start With Deep Discounts Being Offered and Layoffs Already Projected

CNN+ Off to Rocky Start With Deep Discounts Being Offered and Layoffs Already Projected

“@CNNplus employees bracing for layoffs possibly as soon as May amid projections of lackluster sales of new streaming channel,” reported Fox Business Network’s Charles Gasparino.

Earlier this week, CNN launched its CNN+ streaming service after months of hyping it and promising prospective subscribers a “front row seat to breaking news, exclusive interviews and in-depth reporting” and programming featuring the likes of former longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. As far as CNN is concerned, he is the star attraction on the new platform.

Unfortunately for the struggling news network, they aren’t even a week into their paid content venture, yet there are already signs that it’s off to a very rocky start.

For starters, people already subscribed to CNN’s breaking news email alerts received a promotional email from CNN+ Tuesday which noted they were already offering “50% off for life” subscriptions, where the current $5.99 a month rate would be chopped in half to $2.99:

Worse still for CNN+ are reports that layoffs are already being projected unless the subscriber counts take a dramatic turn for the better:

In response to that tweet, CNN’s strategic comms guy Matt Dornic did his best Baghdad Bob impersonation by suggesting things were going according to plan:

That prompted this hilarious exchange where the CNN+ “Help” account on Twitter responded to Dornic in a since-deleted tweet:

As for the programming itself, CNN’s resident chief media hall monitor Brian Stelter was excited to start things off on CNN+ by interviewing the original anchors who kicked off CNN decades ago – Dave Walker and Lois Hart, who are married. But in an awkward moment, Walker noted how he now frequently “yells” at the news channel he once worked for, with all the opinion programming apparently being at the root of his discontent:

After announcing that they both still watch “all the time” like “everybody,” Walker disclosed that major difference: “I used to anchor at CNN, now I just yell at CNN.” “Everybody does that too, right,” Hart said as she laughed.


[Walker]: “And I think, as cable news evolved and more completion came into the fray, you had more opinion, particularly in the evening hours. And I would say that’s the major difference now.”

“But maybe with the new ownership that may revert to more just basic news coverage,” Walker hoped, likely citing reports that incoming network boss Chris Licht has said he wants CNN to return to “hard news” with less “red-hot liberal opining.”


One of the main points made by critics of CNN months ahead of the launch of CNN+ was how it was an odd decision by CNN to launch a paid subscription service when they could barely bring in viewers to their cable channel, especially now that they don’t have former President Trump to kick around like they used to. If current reporting on the struggles at CNN+ bears out, it will make CNN+’s debut one of the most spectacular fails in the history of paid streaming services.

We’ll keep you posted on future developments. Stay tuned.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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SeiteiSouther | March 31, 2022 at 5:02 pm


Yeah, I had to reach for a hanky.

I waved it above my head and shouted, “Yaay!”

At the top of my lungs.

Being careful to save enough breath to do it again later.

They got it into their heads that all the big important media companies have streaming services, so they – being also a big important media company – must have one too.

They just didn’t notice that their business was not at all big or important and is, in fact, deteriorating.

    daniel_ream in reply to irv. | March 31, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Leaving the political bias part of it out for a moment, this is an excellent case study in disruptive technology.

    CNN is engaging in cargo cult management, but other streaming launches have been similarly lackluster. A big part of the problem is that the success of early streaming services lay in the order of magnitude difference in cost between a cable TV service that showed scheduled programming and an on-demand streaming service (Netflix).

    Concentrating all kinds of watchable entertainment and charging a tenth of your competition’s rates works a treat, until the license holders of all that entertainment start yanking it and putting it behind their own paywall; now you have a dozen streaming services you need to pay for to get the content you want, and the cost differential disappears.

    I expect that we’re going to see a concentration of streaming content again, this time at the cable provider level. You’ll pay more than Netflix but less than full cable and you’ll get their relicensed content on-demand.

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of dolts.

“programming featuring the likes of former longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. As far as CNN is concerned, he is the star attraction on the new platform.”

You can’t make this shit up.
Well, the Babylon Bee can, but they got beat out this time (again).

I sincerely hope THE FIRST layoff is Comrade Chris Wallace.


When they offer to pay me $10,000/year to subscribe, I may consider it.