Opening Day: CNN+ streaming service available for launch Tuesday

Audie Cornish, once a familiar voice on NPR's radio program, says that she joined the new CNN+ streaming service partly because she felt she was opening up a new frontier.

Opening Day: CNN+ streaming service available for launch Tuesday

CNN+ will launch next Tuesday after much discussion, with nearly $100 million in development expenses and 500 employees -- many of them new hires, just like Cornish.

On Thursday, the company revealed its typical day's schedule. It included a news countdown hosted on Thursday by Kate Bolduan; a deep-dive news time hosted by Sara Sidner; a Chris Wallace interview program, and hours of news on politics and international news, all topped off by Wolf Blitzer’s evening newscast.

Cornish said that it is rare for a legacy news agency to invest resources in something like this at such a large scale. His weekly interview show, "20 Questions," will premiere in May. "People often say that they will pivot into something. But it is not always true. It was refreshing to see them go all in.

She stated that it was rare for anyone to say "come and do what you need." It's more often, "Come and do what you need."

CNN+ is a major swing that was made at a turbulent time for the company's leadership. There's plenty of doubt in the industry about the chances of it succeeding. CNN sees streaming as the future and a way to reach younger consumers. CNN also views The New York Times (New York Times) as the model for a successful subscription service.

It will cost $5.99 per month. Charter subscribers can lock in a $2.99 per month charge if they act within one month of launch.

Andrew Morse (executive vice president and chief digitization officer at CNN) stated that CNN+ will appeal to "the CNN fan," people who respond to CNN's journalism, people who tune in when there is something happening around the world. CNN+ is about great journalism, story-telling and journalism at its core.

CNN+'s core is news. CNN+ can go live on major stories. However, CNN+ is also relying upon a growing library and films such as "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" or "RBG." CNN+ will emphasize programs that feature people with a dedicated following. For example, Alison Roman in cooking and Scott Galloway, Jemele Hill, and Rex Chapman, in culture and sports. CNN's Anderson Cooper will host a show about parenting. Jake Tapper, who is a seven-time author, will host a program on books.

At launch, two online series will be available: "The Murdochs Empire of Influence" about Rupert Murdoch and "The Land of the Giants Titans of Tech", profiles of the largest high-tech companies.

A new interactive element is also planned, where subscribers can ask questions directly to the show hosts.

Already, news competitors are in the paid streaming market. Fox Nation, another paid subscription service is intended to appeal viewers who enjoy Fox's opinion programming. MSNBC has recently stated that many of its programs will be available through Peacock.

Free news streaming is offered by the ABC, CBS, and NBC broadcast news divisions.

Analysts believe that CNN+ could see a boost due to the fact that many people are reminded of its news muscle by the conflict in Ukraine. CNN+ will appeal to consumers who have cut the cable but don't want their access to information. Alan Wolk, cofounder of TVREV media analysis firm, stated that CNN+ is attractive to them.

He said that CNN+, which addresses questions about the future for cable news, is the latest step in the seemingly never-ending quest of the news industry to reach more young people.

Stephen Beck, the managing partner at cg42, expressed concern that CNN+ would be caught in a "consumer squeeze". People can only spend so much on streaming services, and they tend to choose giants like Netflix, Amazon, or Disney.

He wonders if CNN+ has enough juice to compete.

Beck stated that they aren't very appealing from a content perspective and that, at the end, it's what gets people into the home and onto the screens.

This launch occurs at a time when CNN is in transition, which can be trouble for new ventures. After they refused to disclose their relationship to corporate superiors, Jeff Zucker, the network's chief executive, was fired in February.

They were expected to become strong salespeople for CNN+. What appeared to be a steady stream for prominent hires of people such as Wallace, an ex Fox News anchor, or Kasie Hunt, of NBC News, has ceased since Zucker, another persuasive recruiter, left.

Morse stated that Zucker's exit had not affected talent acquisition. Cornish joined CNN+ one month before Zucker's exit. She said that she was not recruited by Zucker. Morse stated that other hires would be made soon with health and wellbeing as a main focus.

He stated that he had not discussed CNN+ with Chris Licht. Chris Licht has been appointed as Zucker's replacement, but hasn’t yet started. CNN is still waiting for a corporate ownership change, with Discovery's takeover of AT&T likely to be approved soon.

This impending change could be related to a hiring slump. Discovery's ownership could also open up more talent for CNN+, and possibly more importantly, a pathway to more customers if it can team with Discovery or HBO Max.

The focus will now be at 7 a.m. Eastern Tuesday morning with "5 Things With Kate Bolduan", a countdown of the top stories for the day that's modeled after a popular podcast and newsletter from CNN.

The daily schedule also includes "Go There," a travelogue that will be sent around the globe to report on news stories from CNN correspondents. CNN+ will not broadcast any of the current CNN TV shows. Contracts with satellite and cable providers prohibit that.

Brian Stelter, media correspondent for "Reliable Sources", will present a daily edition of his show. Wallace, who is well-known for his political interviews on Fox News Sundays (Fox News Sundays), will explore other topics on "Who's talking to Chris Wallace?"

The last live broadcast of the day is Blitzer's 7:30 Eastern newscast.

Morse stated that "we believe fundamentally that the future is extremely bright if we are able to build a global subscription program that values incredibly valuable journalism." "If we can achieve that, it will be very important for the future and the news business as well as CNN."


 

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