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The company says that CNN+ will be an “additive experience that complements the core CNN linear networks and digital platforms to serve CNN superfans, news junkies and fans of quality non-fiction programming.”
That will include live programming, on-demand and library content, as well as interactive programming, as The Hollywood Reporter previewed last month. At launch, CNN+ will have eight to 12 hours of live, daily programming “offering topical deep dives and lifestyle content from some of CNN’s most prominent talent, as well as several new faces.” It will also include a community element, letting subscribers engage with anchors and subject matter experts.
The company is taking pains to note that CNN+ content will be distinct from its linear TV offerings on CNN, HLN, and CNN International. Carriage agreements with pay-TV providers prohibit CNN from simply porting its live TV offerings onto its own streaming service. Authenticated pay-TV customers will be able to watch CNN’s standard live linear feed in the same app alongside CNN+.
CNN+ will also include CNN’s library of non-fiction programming, including Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. CNN will also develop original unscripted series and films for CNN+.
“CNN invented cable news in 1980, defined online news in 1995 and now is taking an important step in expanding what news can be by launching a direct-to-consumer streaming subscription service in 2022,” said Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia news and sports and president of CNN Worldwide, in a statement. “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. Nothing like this exists.”
CNN+’s executive team will be led by Andrew Morse, the chief digital officer for CNN Worldwide, with Alex MacCallum, the head of product for CNN, serving as CNN+’s GM. Rebecca Kutler, Courtney Coupe and Robyn Peterson will oversee programming, content strategy and operations, and technology, respectively, while the CNN original series team will oversee CNN+ originals.
CNN+ will enter an increasingly crowded streaming landscape for news, with Fox News focused on its own subscription service, Fox Nation (which focuses on lifestyle, documentary, and commentary programming), and MSNBC leaning into parent company NBCUniversal’s Peacock service. Last week MSNBC announced an expansion of its programming on Peacock, including a Morning Joe spinoff called Morning Mika.
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