CNN will launch its first standalone direct-to-consumer streaming service in the first quarter of 2022, giving consumers its live video content without a pay-TV subscription.
The WarnerMedia unit announced Monday that the service would be called CNN+. It will offer subscribers eight to 12 hours of live news programming a day at launch and have on-demand access to of its library of series, such as “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” No price was given for the service.
CNN, which is highly dependent on cable and satellite subscriber fees for revenue, is entering the streaming arena to reach the growing numbers of consumers who are bypassing traditional TV.
Livestreaming of the flagship CNN channel is only available for its current cable subscribers and will remain that way with the arrival of CNN+.
Cable news is a major reason consumers keep their pay-TV subscriptions. But with hundreds of thousand of U.S. households cutting the cord each month, cable news executives know their operations are living on borrowed time as, at some point, rate increases will no longer offset the loss of subscribers.
CNN+ will be a means to get younger consumers who do not have cable into the CNN viewing habit. Many of them already turn to CNN.com for digital news content.
In recent months, CNN has been busy seeking producers and on-air talent to work on the new streaming channel. Current CNN talent will be appearing on the channel as well, according to the announcement.
“On top of a television offering that has never been stronger, which remains at the core of what we do today, we will offer consumers a streaming product that grows the reach and scope of the CNN brand in a way that no one else is doing,” Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports and president of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement.
CNN+ will be overseen by Andrew Morse, chief digital officer for CNN Worldwide.
CNN has been cautious about entering streaming as it hasn’t wanted to disrupt the traditional cable revenue stream that has made it a successful business for decades. Profits for the operation have topped $1 billion in recent years.
Although older viewers still watch traditional TV and make up the bulk of the news audience, companies are aware that younger consumers are getting their video content online and are planning accordingly.
Fox News Media has been building a streaming business with its subscription service called Fox Nation, launched in November 2018.
The monthly service does not offer any live news coverage but does offer programs with the network’s most popular Fox News prime time hosts on demand the day after they have aired on cable.