What to Expect From CNN's Just-Launched Streaming Service CNN wants to do for news what other streaming platforms have already done for entertainment.
By now, most of us are familiar with the numerous streaming services available at the click of a button — from Netflix, to Hulu, to Showtime, to HBO Max, various platforms are churning out content and doing whatever they can to stay ahead of the curve. CNN just became the latest to take the plunge with CNN+, a subscription streaming service that merges live news coverage, on-demand programming and interactive interviews.
CNN wants to do for news what other streaming platforms have already done for entertainment. CNN chief digital officer and head of CNN+ Andrew Morse said in an interview, "We are going to be the only global video-driven news subscription business." Indeed, CNN's streaming service will stand in contrast to the free, ad-supported channels of ABC, NBC and CBS, which have far less content.
CNN has hired hundreds of people to develop dozens of shows for CNN+. Offerings will include original series like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (previously streaming elsewhere), eight daily newscasts and interview shows that will go live on weekdays before becoming available on-demand, and almost a dozen new weekly programs like The Don Lemon Show and Jake Tapper's Book Club.
And users don't have to worry about disruptions to their existing CNN experience on TV or CNN Digital, as anchors will remain on their shows, and reporters will continue to publish stories on CNN.com.
Because of WarnerMedia's deals with cable and satellite distributors, CNN+ can't simulcast its current CNN/U.S., CNN International or CNN en Español channels. But with increasingly fewer Americans turning to cable, CNN executives and producers were already wondering how to push the boundaries beyond traditional TV.
That's exactly what they've done with CNN+'s content. For example, Five Things, hosted by Kate Bolduan, will showcase the morning's top headlines at 7 a.m. EST — quick and digestible in a way linear feeds can't be. An interactive component, Interview Club, will also provide frequent content by allowing subscribers to ask questions.
CNN+'s extensive behind-the-scenes development has positioned it for global expansion, but WarnerMedia's impending merger with Discovery could complicate things, at least temporarily. As it tackles brand integration, Discovery might introduce a scale play bundle, senior strategy analyst for Parrot Analytics Julia Alexander notes, or, in the more likely move, might choose to combine all the services into one platform.