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CNN+ will shut down a month after the streaming service's buzzy launch

CNN+ head Andrew Morse speaks during the streaming service's launch event in New York City last month, just weeks before management made the decision to shut it down.
Monica Schipper
Getty Images for CNN+
CNN+ head Andrew Morse speaks during the streaming service's launch event in New York City last month, just weeks before management made the decision to shut it down.

CNN+, the cable news network's streaming platform, is shutting down on April 30, just one month after its buzzy launch, according to an internal memo obtained by NPR.

Management decided to shutter the new service, following a merger between Discovery and CNN's parent company WarnerMedia earlier this month to form Warner Bros. Discovery.

The decision to shut down CNN's subscription offshoot platform aligns with Warner Bros. Discovery's direct-to-consumer strategy, according to the memo sent by CNN's incoming CEO Chris Licht and an audio recording of an all-hands meeting on Thursday afternoon held by Licht.

"In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service, which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings," Licht wrote.

CNN plans to "double down" on its flagship network programming and its online presence, Licht said, during the meeting in which he broke the news to CNN+ staff.

Andrew Morse, the head of CNN+, plans to leave the company after a transition period, Licht said. Alex MacCallum, the general manager of CNN+, will be overseeing the network's digital properties.

Ahead of the service's launch on March 29, CNN+ had recruited big name media hosts and correspondents to head the streaming platform's live and weekly video programs, including NBC's Kasie Hunt; Fox News host Chris Wallace; NPR's Audie Cornish; chef and food writer Alison Roman.

Licht wrote: "This move is in no way a reflection of the talented and hardworking people who poured their heart and soul into building and flawlessly launching CNN+ in a very short period of time."

Some of that talent will now shift over to work elsewhere on CNN's programming or on Warner Bros. Discovery's other networks, the CEO said.

All CNN+ employees will continue to receive pay and benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital and the broader Warner Bros. Discovery, Licht told staff. After that period, outgoing CNN+ employees will get a severance pay of six months or longer, depending on the length of CNN employment.

"This is going to be a net positive," following the employee transition, Licht said in the meeting, that will allow staff to "not spread ourselves so thin and to give you guys the resources that you need to build upon the great work that's already out there."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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