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CNN+ marketing funds paused, CNN chief financial officer let go as streaming service struggles

The CNN+ rollout is being bogged down significantly by the merger of CNN parent company WarnerMedia, Discovery

Published: April 19, 2022 2:04pm

Updated: April 19, 2022 3:57pm

CNN+ looks like it's in trouble.

Following a rocky April launch, Warner Bros. Discovery has reportedly suspended all external marketing efforts for the new streaming service and relieved CNN's longtime chief financial officer of his duties. 

At present, CNN+ has about 150,000 subscribers. Executives for the cable network have been calling the launch a success, while Discovery executives feel differently. Discovery's current CFO for streaming and international, Neil Chugani, is replacing CNN CFO Brad Ferrer, and will decide what to do with the subscription service moving forward, Axios is now reporting.

CNN executives are reportedly frustrated that new leadership is moving so quickly to dismantle what they believe will eventually be a profitable service. The original plan was to pump $1 billion into CNN+ over the next four years before reaching profitability. 

Discovery executives have repeatedly said that they are interested in returning CNN to its journalistic roots, and pivoting away from perspective programming, like the 9 p.m. hour formerly anchored by Chris Cuomo. CNN+ features, in the estimation of Discovery, is too soft and without enough hard, breaking news. 

Because of potential regulatory scrutiny, WarnedMedia parent company AT&T, and Discovery avoided direct communication about business strategy for CNN until the merger officially closed.

CNN executives evidently did not therefore feel any sort of public pressure from WarnerMedia to place a hold on the CNN+ rollout. 

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