CNN cannot escape the cloud of scandal.
The left-wing propaganda network bet big and now is about to lose it all.
And this $300 million mistake is about to change CNN forever.
Companies like Disney, Amazon and WarnerMedia made huge splashes with financially lucrative streaming platforms Disney Plus, HBO Max and Amazon Prime.
Last year Fox News got into the game with the direct-to-consumer streaming platform Fox Nation.
Disgraced former CNN President Jeff Zucker figured streaming was CNN’s future as the network lost 90 percent of its primetime audience once Donald Trump left office.
So Zucker pushed all his chips in at CNN+, a streaming platform featuring the network’s regular hosts and liberal “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace jumping ship to serve as the service’s marquee star.
After Zucker was forced out ex-WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar decided to press forward with CNN+ despite the fact that Discovery was about to complete its merger with WarnerMedia and would now be calling the shots.
The move proved to be a disaster.
MicKinsey consulting projected CNN+ would attract 15 million subscribers after four years.
Two weeks into the streaming service there are fewer than 10,000 active users.
Fewer than 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis two weeks into its existence, according to people familiar with the matter.
The people spoke with CNBC on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss nonpublic data.
Before being forced out as CEO due to the merger with Discovery, Kilar defended the decision to move forward with the failing streaming service.
“It’s ahead of my expectations in terms of where the subscribers are, the engagement, the receptiveness that we’re getting in terms of people’s response to the journalists of CNN+,” Kilar told CNBC. “I couldn’t be more proud of that team.”
Discovery is now expected to scale back the investment in CNN+ from Zucker’s planned one billion dollars and massively cut back on programming expenses and staff.
Investment and projections for CNN+ are expected to be cut dramatically in response to a low adoption rate, two sources tell Axios.
By the numbers: The news giant was initially planning to invest around $1 billion in the service over the next four years.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be cut from that original investment total.
To date, around $300 million has been spent on the subscription service, which includes a sizable marketing investment.
Last month Fox News Business reporter Charles Gasparino reported that CNN+ faced a disaster and would soon execute massive layoffs.
CNN’s P.R. flack Matthew Dornic claimed CNN could not be happier with the launch of CNN+.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>For the record, we are VERY happy with the launch of CNN+ and are only bracing for a long run of success.</p>— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) <a href=”https://twitter.com/mdornic/status/1509258892324311046?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 30, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Once again CNN was caught peddling fake news.
But the real question is this.
CNN currently cannot draw one million viewers in primetime to any of its programs when people can watch for free.
Why would Zucker or other WarnerMedia executives think anyone would pay for CNN+?
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