Enterprise Prospect Insights: CNN

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CNN+, we hardly knew ye! Enterprise prospects like CNN/Warner Bros. Discovery may change core strategies mid-year. So can you. To stay relevant and resonate with key execs, #B2B tech sales teams and #ABM marketers must quickly adjust their plan to major changes at their named account.

Parent company Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) shut down the CNN+ streaming service just 3 weeks after its launch. Ouch. Here is the background story:

  • AT&T WarnerMedia’s #CNN Division had spent $300M and hired 700 people to build and launch CNN+ on March 29th.
  • The WarnerMedia merger with Discovery was finalized April 8th, and new WBD leadership were less than thrilled that previous WarnerMedia CNN leadership rushed to launch the CNN+ steaming service despite the uncertainty around the looming merger.
  • The death knell for CNN+ was that in the first 3 weeks only a paltry 10K viewers were watching daily (compared to 10M subscribers for Disney+ on Day 1.) Also, WBD wants a simpler steaming strategy – likely combining the very successful HBO Max and Discovery+ into one paid service. So given the larger goals of the merger, CNN+ was likely toast regardless of their dismal start.
  • Final leadership roles are still fluid after only 12 days, but it appears to be mainly former Discovery executives calling the shots at newco WBD. CNN’s Chief Digital Officer Andrew Morse and CFO Brad Ferrer are being shown the door at the end of the April. CNN is still a very profitable division, so will certainly move past this failure and refocus on news-gathering operations and growing CNN Digital.
  • When announced in 2021, the merger was shooting for $3 billion in cost-saving synergies after two years, with the plan to pour that cash back into creating streaming content. But CNN+ and their $300M in lost investment failed spectacularly towards that objective.
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