In 2022, CNN pulled the plug on the network’s $100 million venture into online streaming only 3 weeks after launching CNN Plus.
CNN Plus was the cable-news giant’s bet on digital streaming and its hedge against the rising popularity of the “cord cutting” that has led to a steady erosion of cable subscriptions. It sought to lure viewers with exclusive, original programs hosted by familiar CNN journalists and newcomers such as former Fox News host Chris Wallace and actress Eva Longoria that could be watched live or on-demand. It also offered documentaries and special series already aired by CNN, including the popular food-and-travel programs hosted by Stanley Tucci and the late Anthony Bourdain.
But CNN Plus was unable to offer its subscribers streaming access to CNN’s popular daily television news programs because of noncompete restrictions in its contracts with cable distributors. And in its first month, it appeared to be having trouble persuading enough customers to sign on to the $5.99 monthly service.