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Report: WarnerMedia Looking to Launch Direct-to-Consumer Service for CNN

Stephanie Sengwe

Fresh off the launch of HBO Max, it looks like WarnerMedia may have another streaming service coming our way. According to Vanity Fair, company CEO Jason Kilar has pitched the ideas for “developing a global direct-to-consumer offering for the network,” to CNN president Jeff Zucker.

While not much has been revealed about the logistics of the service, Kilar is looking to launch a product “with all the foundations and brand prestige of CNN, that people would be interested in paying money for,” sources told Vanity Fair.

CNN is already available via Live TV Streaming Services like Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV – but have never been available directly to consumers. The company also offer CNNgo through TV Everywhere using your cable or satellite credentials.

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Earlier this week, Fox News announced plans to launch the channel directly to consumers in International markets.

WarnerMedia has been quite the hot topic over the last week as they have been shifting things internally. Earlier this week, news came out that the media giant will be laying off of at least 800 employees, while HBO is expected to let go of 150 to 175 people.

This came a week after the newly appointed Kilar boarded Andy Forssell — who was the GM & EVP of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer division — to run WarnerMedia’s entire direct-to-consumer business. The move sees longtime execs Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly leaving the company.

Though the changes shocked many, AT&T CFO John Stephens revealed that all the shifting is necessary as the company is putting more focus in their direct-to-consumer vector, which is HBO Max.

“All of these groups are then focused and speak with one voice and, quite frankly, allow for some streamlining of support services and back office and G&A services,” Stephens stated during the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet & Communications Conference.

“So we can take that and continue to invest that money in being able to put the best content out there. I view it as more of a refocusing of the company … This is a transformation of making things better, not because we needed to adjust anything but rather because we’re striving to get even better than the launch was, to get even better than WarnerMedia has traditionally performed.”

Recently, AT&T revealed that 4.1 million customers activated their HBO Max accounts, in their Q2 2020 earnings report. Three million of those were retail subscribers, while the rest were wholesale subscribers through AT&T. With legacy HBO at 33 million users, both services come to a combined 36.3 million U.S. subscribers. This is up from the 34.6 million in December 31, 2019.

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