CNN Set to Launch its Own Streaming Service in 2022

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As more streaming services enter the market, some “smart” businessman is going to come along and offer a special bundle package. You’ll be able to get all of the streaming services at a lower price than paying for them individually. We will have reinvented cable television.

CNN is moving into the marketplace with its own streaming service set for release next year. Creatively titled CNN+, it will feature new shows as well as programs from its catalog such as Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, The Hollywood Reporter said.

“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, 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.”

Though, CNN is not the first news agency to join the streaming market. Fox News has Fox Nation. Plus, MSNBC is adding programs to NBC’s Peacock network.

The reality of this has more to do with the economics of news than anything else. Ratings for cable news are down — way down. In the second quarter of 2021, CNN is down 57 percent in viewers. Fox News dropped 42 percent, and MSNBC lost 37 percent of its watchers, Forbes said. As eyeballs turn away, advertising dollars dry up, so news agencies must sure up their bases as best they can before the inevitable. So, they want you to pay for it.

CNN Joins Crowded Streaming-Service Marketplace

If CNN hopes CNN+ can survive it will need to find viewers quickly. Streaming services aren’t cheap to start-up and a bad launch can ruin them. Just look at Quibi, which closed 6 months after launching. That’s despite having nearly $2 billion in start-up capital and two high-profile Hollywood leaders, the Wall Street Journal points out. Though, Quibi had a host of other issues that led to its downfall.

CNN won’t just be competing with Fox Nation and Peacock. They’ll also be up against the giants of the industry like Netflix and powerhouse shows with rock-solid fan bases such as Yellowstone on Paramount+. There’s that plus again.

This is not to mention YouTube and TikTok, which have drawn in younger viewers who don’t consume news like their parent’s generation. It’s not about being informative it’s about being entertaining as well. CNN+ seems like an effort to meet them at that level, as they promise deep dives and more “infotainment” programming, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But if they’re not tuning in now, why would they pay extra for it?