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CNN+ struggles to lure viewers in its early days, drawing fewer than 10,000 daily users

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  • Fewer than 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis two weeks into its existence, sources said.
  • The paltry audience casts doubt on the future of the application following the recently completed combination of Discovery and WarnerMedia into Warner Bros. Discovery.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav hasn’t commented publicly on CNN+’s long-term future. He told CNBC in February he’d need to see how the application performed before deciding on any next moves.

By Alex Sherman | 13 April 2022

CNBC — Fewer than 10,000 people are using CNN+ on a daily basis two weeks into its existence, according to people familiar with the matter.

The people spoke with CNBC on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss nonpublic data.

CNN+ launched on March 29. The subscription news streaming service, which charges $5.99 a month or $59.99 annually, only became available on Roku on Monday and still isn’t on Android TV. Still, the paltry audience casts doubt on the future of the application following the recently completed combination of Discovery and WarnerMedia into Warner Bros. Discovery.

To put that daily user number in perspective, CNN’s cable network suffered a sharp decline in viewership last year but still rang up an average of 773,000 total viewers a day.

“We continue to be happy with the launch and its progress after only two weeks,” a CNN spokesperson said.

CNN sought to make a huge splash with CNN+, luring big-name talent from rival news networks, such as Kasie Hunt from NBC News and Chris Wallace from Fox News. But there is broad skepticism whether there’s enough demand to sustain a stand-alone news streaming service, with entertainment-first options dominating the landscape. Disney+, for instance, posted more than 10 million subscribers on its first day.

CNN hasn’t released an exact number of CNN+ subscribers. Disney’s ESPN+, which offers sports news programming in addition to live event broadcasts, recently reported 21.3 million subscribers. NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which features news programming, reported 24.5 million monthly active accounts in the U.S., more than 9 million of which were paid members. (ESPN+ charges $6.99 a month and Peacock offers premium tiers starting at $4.99 a month.) […]

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