CNN+ Was Dead on Arrival

Yes, CNN+ Really Was Dead on Arrival

May 10, 2022

Let's say you started a streaming service that nobody wanted, spent millions of dollars creating it, only to see it fail miserably right out of the gate? No, we're not talking about Quibi. We're talking CNN+. This is an embarrassment that runs deep, and indeed some heads will likely roll at CNN, but it should have been obvious that this wasn't going to work.

CNN+... Really?

CNN+ was the company's much-publicized toe-dip into paid streaming content. The service was going to launch with a plethora of live news and pre-recorded news-related shows with big personalities. But we learned its fate just recently: completely shut down before it even officially launched. So why did CNN+ fail so hard, and why didn't the company see it coming?

1. People Aren't Happy with News Services

Here's a simple answer for why this service was doomed to failure. Americans by and large don't trust news sources.

of Americans surveyed said they trust mainstream news media. That's fairly abysmal, and it cuts across political lines. It's a sad state that we're in where people don't trust what has been called the

. But it also makes sense. Americans have reduced trust in all branches of government; is it any surprise that they don't trust the pseudo fourth branch either? Who's going to want to pay for a streaming service from a company they're implicitly suspicious of?

2. CNN Is Not Very Popular in General

Among the news services available in the U.S., CNN's ratings are consistently low compared to the top dog: Fox News. Love it or hate it, Fox News has been the #1 live TV news network for years. CNN's most popular personalities usually have less than half the viewership on a regular basis. The audience just wasn't there to make CNN+ a viable model.  

3. News Is Just Not Entertaining

We can't escape the obvious here: Most people these days (outside of Fox News viewers, based on viewership numbers) watch TV to escape reality. News is exactly the opposite of that. When few people really want to watch news, and mostly only consume news from fairly biased written sources, why would they pay for a news streaming service? CNN's core demographic would have been mostly Millennials and some Gen Z. That's not a demographic that really wants to watch news content. 

Somewhere along the way, someone at CNN should have did their due diligence in understanding their demographics. That either never happened, or it did and it was ignored. Either way, the Fist of the North Star anime said it best here:

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Paramount+ Show 'Never Seen Again' Takes True Crime to the Extreme

"Missing people with a twist. Each story begins with an emotional gut-punch as the last loved one to see the missing person relives that final moment." Watch on Paramount+ today (May 10). -

  2. New Original 'The Quest' Hits Disney+ this Wednesday 

"The Quest” is a ground-breaking, immersive, hybrid competition series that drops eight real-life teenagers (Paladins) into the fantastic, fictional world of Everealm, where they must save a Kingdom by fulfilling an ancient prophecy." Available this Wednesday (May 11). -

  3. American Food Has an Interesting History. Watch It this Wednesday 

"Each episode will spotlight one classic 

American food

 with a time-traveling look back at its 


 and evolution." Streaming this Wednesday (May 11) on Discovery+ -

4. Comedy Kings "Kids in the Hall" Returns on Prime Video

After more than 20 years, the popular Canadian sketch comedy show is making its official comeback. Watch on Prime Video this Friday (May 13). -

News and Industry Developments

1. 5 Valuable Lessons From the Failure of CNN+

Lesson 1: Don't ignore making a deal with Roku. -

2. To Save Itself, Netflix May Have to Play Nice with Industry It Battled for Years

The TV industry may be its only hope against mounting competition and fewer licensed content deals. -

3. Dish Network Bleeding Subscribers on Satellite and Sling

The company is struggling to stay relevant as competition and costs rise. -

4. FuboTV Drops 4K From Base Plan for New Customers

New customers will now need to pay more to get 4K streaming content. -

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