Now that CNN has made the decision to shut down its new streaming baby CNN Plus less than a month after it went live, you may be wondering what went wrong. A report from Axios has a chart showing that the streaming service is far from reaching its projected year-end viewership target, consuming $400 million in 2022 alone trying to get there.
CNN predicted the service would have two million subscribers by the end of the year, but about two weeks later, they found they had only managed to attract 150,000 people. This doesn’t sound too bad at first, but considering services like Disney Plus had 10 million subscribers on its first day — and that Quibi, which similarly closed early in life, saw 910,000 people sign up in its first few days — this wasn’t much for CNN.
Streaming isn’t for everyone, but CNN was setting itself up to make a lot of money. CNN Plus would make a profit of $800 million a year by 2030, an even bigger cash cow than its cable network is today (which makes about $500 million in annual profit, Axios estimates).
How? By 2030, CNN was betting that 30 million people would have either $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year (or $2.99 a month if they were early subscribers), in the hopes that subscriber growth would eventually shift. to make money instead of just spending it . By 2024, CNN thought it would lose just $200 million and even break even by 2025. From there, the company expected to make $200 million by 2026 before slowly creeping its way towards its goal of $800 million by the end of the decade in 2030.
We don’t know the exact logic that caused CNN to pull the plug, but when you see how CNN Plus only had 150,000 subscribers and apparently had to burn $1 billion to have a chance at that $800 million a year, it’s not hard to see what was going on. Instead, CNN got out early.