marketing suspended after mediocre debut – media


Warner Bros. Discovery, owner of CNN, is stopping marketing for the network’s new streaming service, CNN+, after a lukewarm public reception, five internal sources told Axios on Tuesday. CNN’s longtime CFO has also been fired, indicating that the network’s financial problems extend beyond the apparent failure of its subscription streaming service.

CFO Brad Ferrer has been fired and replaced by Neil Chugani, Discovery’s former streaming and international CFO. The move is part of a “broader restructuring of the finance teamThe sources said, adding that the residents of other senior positions at WarnerMedia are likely to get the ax as Discovery, which merged with WarnerMedia earlier this month, puts its own people in charge.

CNN executives themselves apparently believe the launch was successful, the sources say, but Discovery disagrees. The platform reportedly only has 150,000 subscribers, with just 10,000 subscribers per day — embarrassingly low numbers given the $300 million already spent on the project. CNN+ was expected to attract 2 million subscribers in its first year.

While the cable network initially planned to invest $1 billion in its streaming project in its first four years — when it was expected to break even — those numbers have been severely reduced, sources told Axios. The executives’ forecast that CNN+ will reach 15 to 18 million subscribers over the next four years now seems far beyond the realm of possibility.

With ratings on a steep descent, with only 857,000 average prime-time viewers for the first quarter of 2022, CNN’s new management reportedly wants to give the channel a makeover, return to its hard-core news roots and move away from the opinion-dominated platform. that it has become. Executives would even be willing to forgo some short-term gains to refocus the station on breaking hard news stories, a wide-open space on the cable television landscape with so many other US news networks striving to transform themselves into variations of CNN.

But it seems increasingly doubtful whether CNN+ will have a place in that vision. It hadn’t aired its first show last month or reports started circulating about layoffs slated for May. The platform’s questionable business decisions — it marketed the first 29 seconds of its inaugural broadcast, an episode of “5 Things with Kate Bolduan,” as a series of NFTs, and its weekly schedule was full of the same names viewers can for free on his TV channel – suggests management will have an uphill battle to make CNN a serious news channel again.

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While aspiring CEO Chris Licht has promised to swear off Twitter on his first day of work to help him focus on reality, he lands the position of CBS, where he executive produced the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, helping also make the Morning Joe program with Joe Scarborough. Light replaces Jeff Zucker, who left the network earlier this year amid an outbreak of pedophilia and sex scandals that also claimed the jobs of anchor Chris Cuomo and one of its producers.

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