CNN put on the full-court press to drum up excitement about CNN+, its subscription streaming service that launched on March 29 alongside skepticism that there's enough interest for a standalone news service of its kind. Early returns some of that doubt may have been warranted as CNBC reports CNN+ has fewer than 10,000 daily users less than two weeks into its existence.
“We continue to be happy with the launch and its progress after only two weeks,” a CNN spokesperson told CNBC. Warner Bros. Discovery has not released subscription numbers for the service, which costs $5.99 for a month of $59.99 for the year.
In order to generate interest, CNN brought in Kasie Hunt from MSNBC and Chris Wallace from Fox News. Several high-profile anchors also have their own shows on the platform, including Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper.
Relying on non-public information provided anonymously means not having a full picture of the successes and failures of CNN+ and a massive investment means there will be lots of tinkering to try to improve both the content and the distribution. At the same time, the whole prospect seems a bit flawed if you believe cable news' biggest asset is simply being on in the background. It's learned behavior to flip over to CNN to get a snapshot of the news. Paying for and actively searching for premium offerings in the golden age of both sports and entertainment streaming services is a tough barrier of entry.
Time will tell if CNN+ was a misguided project and to what extent.