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CNN + is here: What to expect from a subscription news streamer

“We will be the only global video-driven news subscription business,” Andrew Morse, CNN’s Chief Digital Officer and Head of CNN +, said in an interview.

The three major broadcast news departments, ABC, NBC, and CBS, have free, ad-supported streaming channels, but with much less content. MSNBC reused part of the program on NBCUniversal’s subscription service Peacock, and Fox News is a streamer focused on entertainment and right-wing stories rather than news.

CNN + is different from all of them, but the service is still facing headwinds, including looming management changes and external skepticism about the service’s outlook.

“The news is additive. It’s forming a habit, but it’s a difficult sale for a standalone subscription service,” said Julia Alexander, senior strategic analyst at Parrot Analytics, a company that advises media companies. Mr. says.

In the future, CNN + may be bundled, but it is a standalone product with a monthly charge of $ 5.99 at launch. Sign up directly from CNN for the first four weeks and you’ll get “50% off your monthly plan-lifetime-“. As long as you are a subscriber. “

CNN’s hit original series, such as “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” previously streamed elsewhere, will be available exclusively on the CNN + library. Acclaimed documentaries and specials will also be streamed.

Eight news and interview programs will be broadcast daily on weekdays and will be available on demand.

Almost 12 new weekly programs, such as the Don Lemon Show and Jake Tapper’s Book Club, will also be premiered throughout the week.

A dedicated team will cover the latest news and create special reports with many of the same correspondents and analysts on CNN.

But nothing has changed about the current CNN experience on TV and CNN Digital. Anchor will continue to host existing shows available via cable and satellite, and reporters will continue to publish articles on CNN.com, a free advertising support website.

CNN + is another. Partly because of need and partly because of creativity.

A favorable and long-term deal with WarnerMedia’s cable and satellite distributors means that CNN + cannot simultaneously broadcast existing CNN / US, CNN International, or CNNen Español channels.

However, an increasing number of American homes do not have cables anyway, pose a major threat to the future of major media companies. So CNN executives and producers thought: Restrictions on traditional TV?

The answer is clear throughout the daily CNN + schedule, starting with “Five Things,” five of the morning’s top headlines hosted by Kate Bolduan at 7am east.

Alex MacCallum, CNN Product Manager and General Manager of CNN +, said, “We don’t have a set of linear feeds, so we can have a show that can speed things up in the morning. The next day, 15 minutes, our customers Whatever your needs, you have the flexibility to make the show as long or short as you need. ”

At 8:00 am, “Go There” will be covered in detail by correspondents on the ground, including the Ukrainian war zone. The daily schedule follows “The Big Picture with Sara Sidner” and “Reliable Sources Daily” at 9am. 11am, 4pm “Casey Hunt Sources”, 5pm “Biancanobilo’s Global Briefs”, 6pm “Who Talking to Chris Wallace”, 7pm “Wolf Blitzer” Newscast “: 30. (Full Disclosure: I am the host of” Reliable Sources Daily “.)

CNN executives expect many to watch these shows on demand rather than live. This gives rise to a different way of thinking about news coverage.

The weekly program features renowned CNN stars like Anderson Cooper and new stars like Audi Cornish and Scott Galloway.

Interview Club, an interactive component of streaming services, is also a regular content source.

“We want to provide a space for subscribers to ask questions,” CNN Chief Technology Officer Robin Peterson said in an interview.

The Interview Club lets subscribers submit questions that moderators share with expert guests. It was “built from scratch, from the whiteboard to the product,” Peterson said.

A huge amount of work is being done behind the scenes to ultimately create a streaming platform that can be expanded around the world.

The final question is how many people will pay for video news.

CNN is developing marketing blitz to raise product awareness. Hosts like Wallace are also rounding on other channels.

The launch is complicated by the fact that WarnerMedia is on the verge of merging with Discovery. The Mega Deal is scheduled to take effect in April and changes may occur behind the scenes.

Alexander said Discovery can take one of two different ways to integrate all brands. , And ESPN +. ”

The second and more likely path, she said, is “all of these services merge into one platform.”

This is beyond the control of CNN + staff, who have spent the last few weeks rehearsing new shows, tweaking marketing, and fixing software bugs. On Tuesday, they will begin to see the public’s reaction to the new service.

According to Peterson, CNN + will be available on major device sets (web, mobile and connected TV sets) at launch and will be “extended to new devices” in the coming months.

Executives haven’t commented on when CNN + will be available outside the United States, but “CNN is a brand known around the world,” Morse said. Look at really big market opportunities. “

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