CNN is launching a streaming service, and of course it’s called CNN+.
While CNN has yet to set a specific launch date for its upcoming streaming service, the cable news giant did say it plans to launch CNN+ sometime in Q1 2022. CNN is still trying to decide how much a CNN+ subscription will cost. In an interview with Variety, CNN chief digital officer and head of CNN+ Andrew Morse said that, at least initially, there won’t be a free ad-supported tier, so it’s either full price or nothing.
Interestingly, while CNN+ will naturally serve as a portal to CNN’s usual lineup of news and politics, the streaming service is also expected to offer a “new, additive experience that complements the core CNN linear networks” focused on “quality non-fiction programming.”
CNN says CNN+ subscribers can expect 8 to 12 hours of daily live and interactive original programming “distinct” from other members of the CNN family, with additional on-demand content available thanks to existing shows such as Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, United Shades of America, and This is Life with Lisa Ling. And in the future, CNN+ says it will create new original films and shows for its service, the first of which are expected to be revealed later this year.
Morse claims that launch of CNN+ is the network’s biggest launch since CNN originally hit the airwaves back in 1980. Leading up to CNN+’s launch in 2022, Morse says CNN is looking to hire 450 new employees over the next six to nine months.
When asked by Variety, Morse said there aren’t any official plans to create a subscription bundle with CNN+, HBO Max, or other WarnerMedia services. However, some sources who spoke to Variety said that there is a “strong probability” CNN+ could be included in a package with HBO Max and Discovery+ after the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery gets finalized next year.
The good news is that CNN won’t be creating a separate app for CNN+, and instead CNN+ subscribers will simply log into the existing CNN app using their credentials in order to again access to all of the additional CNN+ content.
But the glut of streaming services today means that CNN+ may struggle to carve out a niche—especially if there are few standout original shows.