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CNN + Bet It Can Spin the News Enough to make news junkies pay

CNN+ announced its launch today and promised that “Nothing like this exists.” What exactly could mean an open question.

Another day, another platform launched. Today it CNN and CNN+, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2022. Promises a “new experience for CNN fans, news junkies, and quality nonfiction fans. ”, IndieWire editor-in-chief Dana Harris-Bridson and Deputy TV editor Ben Travers wanted to take a closer look at the newest platform to join the Connected Community. Their conversation then.

KNIT A: My first question when I read the CNN+ announcement this morning was: Why? The obvious reason is revenue and because streaming position as the dominant business model, but I lean toward Jeff Zucker’s press release assessment: “We will provide consumers with a streaming product that increases reach and coverage of the CNN brand in a way that no one else is doing.” Sure, they’ll do CNN better than anyone else. (Although, who else?) But “Nothing like this exists” sounds like pure arrogance.

BEN: Whenever I see a press release for a streaming service that still involves cable, I pull out my “conflicting business model” microscope and try to read between the lines. Words like “additional” and “additional” try to emphasize that this new service will only exist in partnership with the cable channel, rather than replace it, while confirming that CNN+ will Including “direct” news is not emphasized because it indicates the opposite.

However, I can’t imagine CNN+ performing so “differently” from its long-standing linear predecessor. Anyone who has invested enough in CNN to invest their money in the monthly streaming service will expect the same breaking news they get on cable, and anyone interested enough in “outstanding talent.” ” of the network to pay for their “plus” content will want to also see these anchors in their established news reports and programs. CNN+ will have to give them both. Even customers who can afford cable and streaming subscriptions don’t want to switch between the two, to watch the same channel and cord cutters won’t bite unless they get the whole apple.

For the buzz, all streamers have to come up with something “no one else is doing” – otherwise, in this increasingly crowded market, why would anyone pay for it?

KNIT A: It may make sense for the sake of sales, but statements like that always make me feel like Addison DeWitt in “All About Eve”: “It was a stupid lie, easy to expose, unworthy of you.” Of course what CNN+ is doing, has been done; CNN acknowledged that when naming the new platform Plus. There will be more epic shows, and more, from proven audience sources. But from your point of view, it suggests that any differences between CNN and CNN+ could be erased sooner – but how would that work? The idea of ​​a high-impact breaking news TV outlet available only by subscription doesn’t seem like the most appropriate.

BEN: People probably said the same thing when CNN first floated the idea of ​​a cable news network! “Why do people pay for news they can get for free on broadcast?” Well, they paid for it, and now Zucker is betting they’ll do it again – most likely at the behest of parent company WarnerMedia. While I imagine CNN+ will follow live models already set up by Paramount+ and Peacock, among others – with a live feed always available on the homepage or live shows. highlighted in the highlight reel – one aspect of this announcement that can’t be ignored is the expansion of WarnerMedia’s streaming services.

For prestige television, they’ve got the crown jewel: HBO Max. If the Warner/Discovery merger is successful, the corporation will also own Discovery+. Pop on CNN+, and you’ve got a pretty cool package: There’s script, reality, and news. Considering HBO Max’s $14.99 price tag remains one of its only barriers to entry, a discount that depends on two more subscriptions – the same as Disney offers with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ – could be a boon to the company’s initial offering as well as its upcoming service, as the WarnerMedia ecosystem powers itself, while also becoming self-sustaining.

ESPN+ screenngrab

Home for the ESPN+ subscription page

KNIT A: When supporting an overall package, like ESPN+ does for Disney, CNN+ makes more sense. That said: In terms of appetite, I think sports news junkies > news junkies are hard. Sports fans who want access to live and replayed sporting events in all stripes and sizes; they even want access to fantasy sports. With HD, even better. ESPN+ offers all of that, but I have a harder time visualizing high-end analogs for a news network.

I’m sure CNN will develop top premium shows and it has enough talent to do it. But as to what really drives a news junkie, I think it’s time to learn about the next big story first. That’s CNN’s thesis as a 24-hour news network: Whenever that happens, you’re there. As you pointed out, people laughed at CNN; Opponents called it Chicken Noodles Network and the boy was wrong. For me, the CNN+ question now becomes: How do you go deeper about being first? A news organization cannot share stories first to subscribers or hold details behind a fee wall.

BEN: As someone who hasn’t missed cable news since cutting the cord years ago, I can’t speak with much authority about the dynamics of “CNN Superfans,” as the release describes its target audience. , but I can tell with the startling amount of competition that CNN+ will face – beyond the packaged market that every new streamer faces. Even as part of a bundle, subscribers will have to weigh the value of CNN+ against free-streaming news services from CBSN, NBC News and ABC News Live, as well as broadcast news networks free waves – all of which are competing with free news sites, free social media posts, and free word of mouth. Fox News succeeded with the paid streaming model, and NBC News offered exclusive programming to its paid subscribers to Peacock, but then there was The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, as well as other channels. boutique subscription news services like Rolling Stone Pro (thanks PMC!) and Vulture.

We’ll only know about the long-term viability of these models over time, but I know why I’m paying for an NYT subscription: I appreciate the depth and testing that goes into the question. their story. What the newspaper and CNN seem to be betting on is that people will pay for news they can trust, news they appreciate, or at least news they want to hear. That makes the stability of CNN’s “outstanding talent” all the more important. Maybe CNN+ can’t keep breaking news behind a fee wall, but they can make you pay to listen to your favorite commentator. As long as finding it proves to be or is more convenient than cable, that may be enough.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2021/07/cnn-plus-bets-it-can-spin-the-news-cycle-1234652328/ | CNN + Bet It Can Spin the News Enough to make news junkies pay

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