Update, April 27 at 7:25 p.m.: Just one week after its cancelation announcement, CNN+ is quietly leaving the party earlier than expected. Like, early early. The short-lived service will now end two days before its original announcement. Digital Trends reports that subscribers received an email that their subscription would end on April 28 instead of the planned April 30. While the CNN+ support page confirmed that active subscribers would receive a full refund, the future of the shows on the platform is still unknown. According to the support page, the content library “will no longer be available” after CNN+ ends. Another streaming service that suffered a similar fate to CNN+, Quibi, eventually migrated its content to Roku as a part of its Roku Originals series.
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CNN+, the Quibi of cable news, will be shutting down a mere month after it launched and tried to establish itself as a valuable subscription streaming service. Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed the news on April 21, with information relayed to CNN+ staffers at an all-hands meeting at noon. In a separate memo to staffers, Chris Licht, the incoming president of CNN, said that the decision was in line with the “complex streaming market” and didn’t reflect the quality and talent of its content offerings — “some of which” will migrate over to CNN or the company’s other networks. “While today’s decision is incredibly difficult, it is the right one for the long-term success of CNN,” Licht added.
The service — which blended an offering of news recaps, original series, and “innovative interviews” — will officially cease operations on April 30. As Vulture previously reported, despite the strong production value and star power of CNN+’s programming (which included shows from Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, and even Alison Roman), subscription numbers faltered when it became obvious that the service was an evolution of the brand rather than a streaming substitute: Subscribers didn’t have regular access to live CNN programming, for instance, and couldn’t even toggle between live news coverage at certain times of day. Axios estimated that only 150,000 people had bothered to subscribe by the third week of April, with the cost starting at $5.99 per month. In a press release, Warner Bros. Discovery stated CNN+ customers will receive prorated refunds of their subscription fees. “It’s the same issue Quibi ran into,” our Joe Adalian summed up a few weeks ago. “Some of their shows were actually pretty good, but collectively, they didn’t amount to something you’d want to pay for on a regular basis.” Well, at least Quibi had the decency to offer both vertical and horizontal views. And give us more of Nicole Richie doing comedy.