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CNN+ is shutting down

Less than one month after launching, the streaming service is being taken offline.
People walk by the world headquarters for CNN on March 15, 2022, in Atlanta.
People walk by the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta on March 15.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

CNN's parent company said Thursday it will shut down CNN+, a streaming service launched less than one month ago.

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. announced the streaming service's operations would end April 30. The service — which carried live news, original series and interactive features — launched March 29.

"In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings, and, for the company, a more sustainable business model to drive our future investments in great journalism and storytelling," said J.B. Perrette, president of global streaming at Warner Bros. Discovery, in a statement.

"We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world’s premier reputational assets, will play an important role there," the statement said.

CNN+ leader Andrew Morse is leaving Warner Bros. Discovery, the company said. CNN is a division of Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.

CNN reportedly invested around $100 million and hired hundreds of employees for CNN+. Jeff Zucker, the former CNN president who resigned in February for not disclosing a relationship with a close colleague, was deeply involved in the early development of CNN+.

The news network's foray into the streaming space had already been met with some skepticism around whether there was enough consumer appetite for another paid subscription service. Other networks offer streaming news content free of charge. Fox News, with its Fox Nation platform, is the only other news network that sells a paid subscription.

The CNN+ product was created when CNN was still under AT&T's WarnerMedia umbrella, The Associated Press reported. When WarnerMedia became Warner Bros. Discovery following a combination with Discovery earlier this month, Discovery CEO David Zaslav helmed the newly merged brands and had his own ideas for CNN, according to the AP.

The swift demise of CNN+ suggests company executives have acknowledged the competitive headwinds in the streaming space.

Chris Licht, the incoming chairman and CEO of CNN, said the company would focus efforts on its core newsgathering operation.

"This is not a decision about quality; we appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organization with terrific talent and compelling programming," Licht said in a statement. "But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice."

The network’s splashy debut of the brand-new service in March included big-name news anchors and hosts, including NPR's Audie Cornish and former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

Customers who signed up for the CNN+ streaming service will receive prorated refunds, the company said.

CORRECTION (April 21, 2022, 1:13 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of the president of global streaming at Warner Bros. Discovery. He is J.B. Perrette, not Perette.