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Report: Warner Bros. Discovery Suspends CNN+ External Marketing Spending, Fires CFO

Report: Warner Bros. Discovery Suspends CNN+ External Marketing Spending, Fires CFO

More layoffs are likely to come.

Axios reported that Warner Bros. Discovery suspended CNN+’s all external marketing spending. It also fired longtime CNN Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Brad Ferrer.

WarnerMedia and Discovery recently came together to form Warner Bros. Discovery.

The CNN executives claim they are happy with the launch. However, CNN+ has about 150,000 subscribers and averages 10,000 viewers a day.

CNN+ executives wanted to have two million subscribers in the first year.

The moves by Warner Bros. Discovery have angered those inside CNN because they see CNN+ “as an eventual lifeline for the cable network.”

CNN wanted the streaming service “to become profitable in four years by investing $1 billion into” it. It went live on Roku last week, but now they’re concerned that suspending any marketing will dent any growth.

Those executives believe that if Discovery executives don’t do anything, then CNN+ would soon land on the same level as The Wall Street Journal, with 2,9 million digital subscribers.

Even if CNN+ gained millions of subscribers, how long would people stick around? Axios noted that people do not get the same items on CNN+ that they do on CNN. The shows performing the best on the streaming service “are the ones that mimic live TV programs.”

The Discovery executives are supposedly furious CNN launched CNN+ before the merger. It placed Discovery’s current CFO for streaming and international, Neil Chugani, as CNN’s CFO.

Discovery has success when it comes to streaming services. (I was just watching Discovery+. Love the shows with Josh Gates!)

The previous Axios report mentioned a merger with HBO Max. It looks like that is still the plan with CNN+:

  • Warner Bros. Discovery executives see an opportunity to possibly include some CNN+ content on CNN’s app and make that video available for free and supported by ads, according to one source. Other CNN+ programming could live within HBO Max.
  • It sees potential in leveraging the already massive reach of CNN.com and CNN’s main app to drive its digital growth long-term, as opposed to another subscription outside of linear TV.

But Discovery wants to emphasize journalism at CNN, which is a focus the network lost a long time ago.

The new bosses want more news programming and fewer opinion shows. CNN might have a live newscast in the 9 PM ET slot, which used to belong to Chris Cuomo.

CNN fired Cuomo in February over allegations of sexual harassment at ABC News in 2011. He called it hypocrisy because of relationships at the top tier of CNN leadership.

Cuomo sued CNN for $125 million. His ouster caused former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker and former chief marketing officer Allison Gollust to resign because they never disclosed their affair.

The Cuomo/Zucker fiasco is only partly to blame for this fiasco. Zucker resigned in February, and new CEO Chris Licht doesn’t start until May 1.

WarnerMedia and its former parent AT&T did not talk to Discovery about CNN+ strategy during the merger because of potential “regulatory scrutiny.”

The Discovery executives also feel like they made it known that they wanted CNN to launch CNN+ until after the merger.

The CNN executives claim they “didn’t feel corporate pressure from WarnerMedia to pause the rollout.”

No matter what, CNN+ is not going away. But it will not be what CNN thought it would be during the brainstorming stages.

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Comments

When attempting a rescue, first stop the bleeding. Every dollar you spend marketing a useless product is blood on the floor. The order you want to go about things is:
1) Create a useful product.
2) Market the (censored) out of it.

CNN went straight for #2 with their product.

healthguyfsu | April 19, 2022 at 5:24 pm

CNN+ isn’t going away because progressives don’t care about throwing away money. If they can seize power, they will just throw away someone else’s money anyways.

Then, they will install CNN+ as the new PBS (while hiring all the PBS wokes to provide “fresh content” aka the same repeated drivel)

I got HBO+ so I could watch DC shows and Westworld, though none of them seems to be able to hold a decent quality level beyond season 1. But that’s another discussion.

I kind of like HBO+, but there’s a LOT of woke garbage on there. I can ignore CNN+ of they add it but if they then raise rates they will lose me fast. I long ago canceled Hulu and Netflix because I don’t care to fund people who obviously hate me!

    Olinser in reply to irv. | April 19, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    I cancelled Hulu a long time ago because they weren’t providing any value.

    Netflix is full of woke garbage, but there’s a lot of movies and shows on there that I like, so I’m keeping it for now.

    HBOMax I literally get free with my ATT internet right now, there’s a few good shows (and they got all the DC movies), but it’s definitely not worth the price point they’re charging IMO.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Olinser. | April 19, 2022 at 7:21 pm

      “I cancelled Hulu a long time ago because they weren’t providing any value.”

      Same here, along with poor picture quality and buffering.

      Not my box; it works fine with everything else. On some sort of a T mobile promotional I now have one free year of Apple TV. I’m enjoying some of the shows a great deal. Yeah yeah I know but still I’m enjoying the programming.

        henrybowman in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | April 19, 2022 at 8:07 pm

        Hulu is also awful on my box (Tivo), which also works with everything else, but Hulu also works well on everything else but my box. Trick is that Hulu did their own “app” for the Tivo, and it’s completely brain-damaged. So it may still be your box.

    gonzotx in reply to irv. | April 19, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    HBO hates you too

CNN+

LOL

Like anyone wants more of that.
They probably thought that was genius.

Steven Brizel | April 19, 2022 at 5:42 pm

This is like watching the sinking of the Titanic

In other words, CNN executives were stupid enough to think that if they just got it out the door then its runaway success (I literally just laughed typing that), would show their brilliance.

Instead they’re being forced to see what everybody else already knew – that practically nobody is willing to pay for CNN, at ANY price, and that these idiots just shoveled hundreds of millions of dollars into an incinerator for an idiotic vanity project.

The only thing that surprises me is that they only fired ONE person. The entire suite of corner office morons that did this should have been fired on the spot.

Mumsie Culpepper hardest hit.

Hey CNN+, I have a suggestion: How about a show that really pumps up Michelle Obama? Or Nancy Pelosi? There is a real hunger to see the struggle and sacrifice people like this have endured for US! Sounds like good TV to me!!

    Another Voice in reply to Q. | April 20, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    Yea…… That appeals to me too. There truly isn’t enough really good comedic shows to watch.

‘CNN wanted the streaming service “to become profitable in four years by investing $1 billion into” it.’

Clearly, these boomers don’t understand how the Internet works. All you have to do is give everything away free, and you make a billion dollars.

“Phase 2: ?”

😂 @ CNN+

Tater and Lil Oliver better be warming up those stellar résumés.

Experience:

Bitching about Fox News on a show with poor ratings.
Trying to cancel anyone that disagrees with us.

I smile when I hear CNN is losing money. Wonderful rollout. More please. /s

irishgladiator63 | April 19, 2022 at 7:34 pm

So their goal was 2 million subscribers paying $6 per month?
That’s under $150 million a year, literally $100 million less than the $1 billion they wanted to put in over four years.
Were they delusional enough to think they’d double or triple the subscribers in those years? Or were they planning to triple the price they couldn’t get anyone to pay already?

    In a word, yes. They were that delusional.

    The ‘projections’ by the executives and idiot consultants said they were going to have 2 million subscribers in JUST THE FIRST YEAR, and then 15-18 million after 4 years.

    There’s no other word than delusional to describe the people that believed those numbers.

    MajorWood in reply to irishgladiator63. | April 19, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    But the numbers work with liberal math.

      Arminius in reply to MajorWood. | April 19, 2022 at 9:12 pm

      Liberal math. If I recall correctly from High School, all you need is a pad of paper, a pencil, an eraser, a calculator, and a bowl of magic mushrooms.

TheOldZombie | April 20, 2022 at 1:16 am

They should shut it down totally and fire everyone associated with it.

CNN needs to be reformed as a straight news channel and be told straight up that it needs to go after the left as hard as it goes after the right.

“Those executives believe that if Discovery executives don’t do anything, then CNN+ would soon land on the same level as The Wall Street Journal, with 2,9 million digital subscribers.”

Those executives that believe in this fairy tale need to be fired, too.

CNN: All the lies that fit, PRINT!

Steven Brizel | April 20, 2022 at 10:43 am

This is like watching the sinking of the Titantic

“CNN fired [Chris] Cuomo in February over allegations of sexual harassment at ABC News in 2011. He called it hypocrisy because of relationships at the top tier of CNN leadership…Cuomo sued CNN for $125 million. His ouster caused former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker and former chief marketing officer Allison Gollust to resign because they never disclosed their affair.
The Cuomo/Zucker fiasco is only partly to blame for this fiasco. Zucker resigned in February, and new CEO Chris Licht doesn’t start until May 1…”

My wife and I use a hot-air popper (Orvil’s brand). I like the larger ‘yellow’ popcorn kernels, while my wife prefers the smaller (and I understand less chewier) ‘white’ variety. Enjoy the show.

healthguyfsu | April 20, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Talk about your poison pill thrown into an investment.

When you’re up to your a$$ in alligators, it’s a little late to drain the swamp…