A report in Axios detailed the collapse of CNN+, the premium news subscription service headlined by former longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
The report said that Warner Bros. Discovery had pulled external marketing spending for the service, according to five separate sources. They also reportedly cut CNN’s longtime chief financial officer over the debacle.
The report said that CNN executives believed the launch of the premium service was a success, but those at Warner Bros. disagreed with that assessment.
CNN+ has garnered only 150,000 subscribers, while a previous report claimed the service only saw 10,000 viewers on a daily basis, falling far short of expectations.
CNN+ executives reportedly hoped to see 2 million subscribers in the first year and as many as 15 to 18 million over four years. The service officially launched on March 29 and charges subscribers $5.99 a month, or $59.99 annually to stream its news content.
Discovery executives were said to be upset that CNN+ launched early before it could be aligned with the goals of the parent company.
A separate report in May claimed that CNN+ was already heading towards employee layoffs in May.
In December, radio host Howard Stern was among many who mocked the news that Wallace had left Fox to join CNN+.
“People don’t want CNN, who the hell’s gonna pay for CNN+? I mean are they outta their minds?” Stern joked. “Good luck bein’ seen on that thing!”
Later reports surfaced that Wallace was growing frustrated that plans for the subscription channel were imploding due to the resignation of Jeff Zucker in the wake of revelations about an inappropriate relationship with an underling.
Here’s the trailer for the CNN+ service:
World-class storytellers | Now Streaming | CNN+