It's not much of a surprise that people aren't scrambling to pay for CNN+ given they aren't even that enthused to watch CNN on TV for free. Ratings numbers for the first quarter of 2022 show Fox News Channel dominating with the top 14 shows in the key 25-54 year old demographic while CNN trailed with the 15th, 17th, and 20th-25th place shows.
CNN+ looks like it's imploding
Like an Iranian mullah rocket launch, CNN+, the cable network's new $100 million streaming service launched Tuesday, is nosediving back to earth with a fizzle.
Townhall's Spencer Brown reports that they're already talking layoffs:
Heralded as "a historic day" for CNN, Tuesday's launch of the nascent streaming service has apparently not gone well. As Fox Business' Charlie Gasparino reported, "lackluster" sales projections had led employees to brace for layoffs as soon as May.
One hundred million dollars. Several hundred new employees. Bigfoot news hire-aways such as the now-unhappy Chris Wallace. And now, two days in, layoffs and talk of merging in with incoming owner Discovery, Inc.'s existing streaming outfit, as a sort of consolation prize.
That's wretched stuff -- and a close look at the matter suggests it's all their own fault.
Buried within the Townhall piece are a couple of inexcusable blunders that would sink any new streaming service network:
As Landon also reported on launch day for CNN+, the network wasn't even available on all smart TVs and streaming devices including Roku, Google TV, Android TV, Samsung, LG, Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation. As Landon noted, launching without the "support of Roku is expected to have even greater costs as the platform services more than 60 million active accounts across the globe and has a dominant market share of connected TV homes in the U.S."
Seriously? Roku is the biggest platform and nobody thought to cut a deal with them to feature CNN+ so they could sell their $5.99 a month service? Nobody called them? This isn't even an issue of bias, this is total incompetence. They really thought they could carry the service without listing it on the big streaming service platforms as one of the pro-offered wares? It raises questions as to whether they know what industry they are in.
Second, they're now selling their service at low, low prices:
Sign up for #CNNPlus today and get 50% off your subscription (for life) 👉 https://t.co/XjOaTvyOQq.— CNN+ (@CNNplus) March 29, 2022
Launch offer: $2.99/month (standard price $5.99/month). One offer per customer. Cancel anytime. Limited time offer ends 4/26/22. pic.twitter.com/GLMkrDuL3D
...which, if this is a going-out-of-business sale, would make perfect sense. When they say 'for life' they mean their life, not yours. Whatever the reasoning behind it, holding a fire sale smacks of desperation.
Lastly, look who they've picked to shill the new service:
What is @CNNPlus, the new subscription service for news that's launching on Tuesday? Here's my two-minute explainer pic.twitter.com/9mXz9ijbXq— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 27, 2022
The Washington Post (and Townhall) report that the idea behind the new streaming service is to attract younger viewers, who have been fleeing to Fox News in huge numbers. For that job, CNN picked the rotund, middle-aged, and balding Stelter to fire up the youth with cash to spend on streaming. Is Stelter the guy to do that for them? He's the famous 'yes' man of CNN, the teacher's pet, the guy with rock bottom ratings who keeps his job by sucking up to management as I have noted here. Now he's the pitchman for CNN+? They couldn't hire some vapid Hollywood celeb for this? No, they got him. He's so loathed he'd have trouble attracting fat, balding, middle-aged viewers, never mind the young people. Way to attract the young viewers, CNN.
All of this comes on top of all the problems CNN itself has with attracting subcriptions. Spencer Brown notes:
As I noted in my piece here, the outfit is journalism-challenged - they don't actually do journalism, they shill for Democrat politicians at the express direction of CNN's bosses and all that came out in the wash when scandal-plagued CNN boss Jeff Zucker made his infamous exit earlier this year:
Ace [of Ace of Spades] has some trenchant observations about what that amounted to:
For context, I've heard it reported that Jeff Zucker was very buddy-buddy with all of his "talent" (what an inappropriate word in this context), constantly texting them all like they were eighth grade girls, which actually sounds about right, psychologically speaking.
Also, bear in mind that the network is absolute s--- and in a merger you get rid of all of the low-performing "talent" (lol) and at CNN, that means pretty much every single one of them. Because they all apparently though [sic] they were Bestest Fwendz with Jeff Zucker, they were almost all certainly relying on that Very Deep Superficial Friendship to protect them from the coming bloodbath.
That explains a lot about their strange coverage over the past few years — the Russia hoax, the Trump impeachment, the false attack on the Covington kids, the "fiery but peaceful" protests, and other insane left-wingery that could not by any standard be called "journalism." It was all Zucker whispering into his suggestible little minions' ears about what kind of left-wing narrative he wanted to project and watching them "go fetch" for him like the dogs they are. The whole network was truly his, and these characters were his arms.
That's the backstory to this shambles -- the foundation upon which they are building CNN+ as an outgrowth of CNN is essentially a flawed product. People stay away from CNN for bias reasons and that alone should deter them from wanting to purchase additional services from CNN as in the streaming service. It's like Domino's Pizza trying to sell its unimproved-crust pizza in new food delivery operation without improving its crust first. You've got to have a good product before you can branch out with new ways to distribute it, and Domino's, to its credit, did fix its crust first before going any further. CNN, though, is still flattering itself, and certainly not learning from Domino's. They have a bad product, they are keeping their bad product the way it is and have yet to clean it up, but now they want to go into spreading it around more through streaming.
Something suggests this won't work. Sure enough, the layoff talk has started early.
Image: Twitter screen shot