To say that things have been volatile at CNN recently would be an understatement. After longtime CNN chief and WarnerMedia News and Sports chairman Jeff Zuker was forced to resign last month, the debut of the network’s long announced streaming service CNN+ seemed to be in jeopardy.
However, on Thursday, CNN confirmed some of the reporting done the previous day by the Los Angeles Times that the streamer is still on track for launch and that there are finally some concrete details available for customers who have been waiting to sign up.
Though the Times reported that the cable news giant is set to launch the service at the end of this month, the network itself is still only confirming that CNN+ “will debut this spring.” CNN also said that the price for the service will be $5.99 per month or $59.99 annually. The monthly $5.99 price point is the same as Fox Nation, Fox News’ streaming site.
However, for the four weeks following launch, customers will be able to access the “Deal of a Lifetime” in order to receive 50% off of the monthly plan for as long as their account remains active.
“The once in a lifetime 50% off offer allows everyone interested and eager to subscribe to CNN+ to have access to it at an enticing price — for life,” said Alex MacCallum, CNN Worldwide Head of Product and General Manager for CNN+. “For less than a cup of coffee, subscribers will have access to live programming from some of the greatest journalists in the world, premium on demand content and Interview Club — our interactive offering that is unlike anything else available on any streaming service today.”
According to the LA Times, CNN+ also has plans to eventually roll out an ad-supported version of the service, as well as to bundle the streamer with its corporate sister platform HBO Max.
Last week, Discovery — which will soon officially take over as the owner of CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia — announced that former “Morning Joe,” “CBS This Morning,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” exec Chris Licht will take over at CNN, but not until after the launch of the network’s streaming platform.
Unlike many streamers (Peacock, Paramount+, Hulu), CNN+ will not provide a viewing option of the network’s live programming, as the network still relies heavily on cable ad revenue and carriage fees and does not want to upset that apple cart. Instead, CNN has invested over $120 million dollars and hired 400 new employees to create an entirely new lineup of series, specials, and documentaries that will be available exclusively on the streaming side of things.
The network says that the streamer will offer “three types of content: live, on-demand and interactive programming, including a whole new way to engage with CNN’s world class journalism and storytelling.”
CNN is aiming to lure viewers to its new streamer with a mix of some of their most popular personalities and high-profile additions. Joining the likes of CNN stalwarts Wolf Blitzer, Don Lemon, Brian Stelter, Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpou, Jake Tapper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and more will be former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, former MSNBC star Kasie Hunt, former NPR anchor Audie Cornish, former NBA player and social media star Rex Chapman, former ESPN anchors Jemele Hill and Cari Champion, actress Eva Longoria, and more.
Another addition that CNN is hoping will draw subscribers is the fact that once current streaming agreements with other platforms — including HBO Max and Netflix — expire, all of CNN’s films and original specials will return home to CNN+. This includes all of the content that the late Anthony Bourdain created for the network, including “Parts Unknown.”
CNN+ is a subscription streaming service that includes 12 hours of live news and on-demand access to shows like “Parental Guidance with Anderson Cooper,” “5 Things with Kate Bolduan,” “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” and “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” The service features journalists like Chris Wallace and Audie Cornish.
Subscribers in the first four weeks of launch get 50% off the monthly plan for life as long as they remain subscribers.