WarnerMedia Will Seek $5.99 per Month for CNN Plus as News Outlet Vies for Broadband Views
CNN and Fox News Channel are fierce rivals, and their anchors regularly take pot shots at each other. But there is at least one thing on which they agree: how much a new subscriber to their streaming outlets ought to pay.
CNN will charge $5.99 per month for its new CNN Plus, a subscription-video streaming outlet that is expected to launch in late March, according to a person familiar with the matter, confirming information previously reported by The Los Angeles Times. That is the same monthly fee sought by Fox News for its Fox Nation outlet. Early-bird customers who sign up for CNN Plus during an initial four-week offer will get 50% off that price for life, for as long as they subscribe.
With the launch, CNN will enter a crowded fray. Many of the nation’s big TV-news outlets have already launched streaming counterparts. And except for Fox Nation, they are all free and supported by advertising.
WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent, may have other plans for CNN Plus, bundling it with its other streaming hub, HBO Max. There is already speculation that Discovery, slated to take control of WarnerMedia in mid-April, may have new strategies for the streaming assets to be held under the umbrella of the newly merged entity, to be known as Warner Bros. Discovery.
CNN intends to house both its flagship cable network and its new streaming service in a single app, letting customers who subscribe to both toggle between the two venues. But CNN Plus will remain distinct from its linear counterpart — by design. CNN is contractually bound not to make most of its linear TV programming available outside the confines of a cable or satellite subscription, though the network has carved out exceptions for social-media usage and in the case of important coverage events like the State of the Union.
CNN has already hired dozens of new anchors and producers for the service, including Chris Wallace, formerly of Fox News Channel; Kasie Hunt, formerly of NBC News; and Audie Cornish, fomerly of NPR. Eva Longoria will lead a new documentary series about Mexican cuisine. And CNN regulars like Poppy Harlow, Anderson Cooper and Brian Stelter will have their own regular programs, while evening host Don Lemon will lead a talk show, complete with a live, in-studio audience.
CNN is launching the service during a period of tumult. Discovery intends to bring in Chris Licht, a veteran producer who has had success with “Morning Joe, “CBS This Morning” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” as CEO of CNN in may. He will replace Jeff Zucker, a colorful TV executive who, during nearly a decade at CNN, spurred anchors to be more colorful, passionate — and opinionated, spurring concern about the network’s ability to remain neutral in its coverage. Zucker was ousted last month after failing to disclose a romantic relationship with Allison Gollust, the network’s chief marketing officer.
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