Look, don’t shoot the messenger here. This is the Age of Streaming and, apparently, the age of streaming services that add a very creative “+” to the end of their name. You know, to cleverly denote that it’s the company name and that you can expect…more of it, I guess? Anyway, CNN is the latest to get in on the action with their announcement that CNN+ is on the horizon, ready to serve the needs of a very hungry audience that’s pining for all things CNN.
The Next Step For News
Hailing this new venture as “…the most important launch for CNN since Ted Turner launched the network in June of 1980,” the new company is pretty much pointing to (or is it blaming?) viewers and their shifting consuming habits when it comes to streaming these days. This service will launch alongside the existing CNN channel in the first quarter of 2022, hosting eight to twelve hours of live programming, multiple original series, and something mysteriously described as an “interactive community” that will all be exclusive to the service.
Because CNN is prevented by pre-existing deals with cable distributors, it can’t simply shift any of its existing television programming to streaming. CNN+ is apparently the solution, allowing consumers who’ve already cut free from cable to have access to CNN. According to chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports and president of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker,
“On top of a television offering that has never been stronger, which remains at the core of what we do today, we will offer consumers a streaming product that grows the reach and scope of the CNN brand in a way that no one else is doing. Nothing like this exists.”
Naturally, no actual cost figures have been released yet (neither have any specific programs, either) and will first roll out in the United States before expanding elsewhere.
For all the money and effort being poured into these new streaming services, I’m not entirely sure companies understand that their prospective customers are fast approaching (if they haven’t already) the absolute limit of what they’ll continue to spend their subscription budgets on. Most people will happily pay for the chance to watch entertainment through Netflix or Disney+ “for free” at their own convenience, but how many news junkies are out there who’ll shell out for the chance to watch some vaguely different programming? More to the point, when people get breaking news alerts on their phones, who’s going to jump onto their smart TV to fire up a streaming service that may or may not even provide live news?
The money quote comes at the end of the article, as chief digital officer Andrew Morse almost seems to brag that, “…we think, given our brand reach; given our credibility; given our trust; given the fact that we reach 290 million across linear and digital platforms globally, that there’s a really substantial audience opportunity for us.” Without even touching upon the politically fraught times America and much of the world finds itself in these days, this feels like it has all the makings of a story that ends very predictably with a whimper rather than “next big thing”.
We’ll keep you updated on any further developments.
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