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What is CNN Plus? What you need to know about the short-lived news streamer
Update: April 21, 2022 – CNN Plus shut down operations on April 30, just over a month after the service launched on March 29.
With broadcast and cable TV slowly losing audiences to streaming services, we see more and more TV channels launch their own streaming component. In July 2021, Warner Media announced its plans to launch CNN Plus. That service was launched in 2022 but was shuttered soon after.
The service (marketed as “CNN+”) was meant to expand the reach of the main CNN TV news network. However, it ame at an extra cost. Here’s everything we know about the new service.
What is CNN Plus?
CNN Plus was meant to serve as a way for people who don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription to access programming from the cable news network. People who already watch CNN via cable or satellite could get expanded news coverage via CNN Plus.
The service had 8 and 12 hours of live programming each day.
The service had eight and 12 hours of live programming each day. It also featured on-demand news specials, including some that were exclusive to CNN Plus.
Finally, the service had some interactive elements. It had what the company called “Interview Club.” People who watched content on the service could use this feature to send questions to its news anchors and commentators via the app and have them answered in real-time.
When and where did CNN Plus launch?
CNN Plus launched on March 29, 2022.
The service was limited to the US market.
How much did CNN Plus cost?
CNN Plus normally cost $5.99 a month, or $59.99 annually, for subscribers. However, if people signed up within the first four weeks of the service’s launch, up to April 26, they could secure a 50% discount for as long as they stay signed up.
Were there ads on the service?
Warner Media ensured that there weren’t any commercials or ads on CNN Plus.
The service was completely subscriber-supported, with no plans for that to change.
Was there a bundle deal with HBO Max and/or Discovery Plus?
According to a Variety interview with CNN’s chief digital officer Andrew Morse, there were never any plans to bundle the service with HBO Max. However, that same article quotes unnamed sources as saying that once the planned merger of Warner Media and Discovery was completed, it was possible the newly combined company could indeed offer a streaming bundle deal with HBO Max, Discovery Plus, and CNN Plus. A similar bundle with Disney’s Hulu, ESPN Plus, and Disney Plus has been highly successful.
Which CNN anchors and reporters were on CNN Plus?
A number of CNN anchors and reporters had exclusive shows for CNN Plus, as confirmed earlier by Warner Media. Those shows include:
- The Newscast with Wolf Blitzer – A daily evening newscast hosted by The Situation Room’s Wolf Blitzer
- Jake Tapper’s Book Club – A weekly show focusing on a number of diverse writers, hosted by CNN anchor Jake Tapper.
- The Don Lemon Show – A weekly talk show hosted by CNN Anchor Dom Lemon.
- Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? – Chris Wallace, who formerly was a reporter and anchor for Fox News, has jumped over to CNN Plus. His weekly show features interviews with newsmakers, entertainers, and other major figures.
Was this just a streaming copycat of CNN?
As Warner Media had been claiming for some time, CNN Plus was not a headline news service like CNN is. Instead, subscribers were treated to stories about important topics with more depth than the brief headline news segments that are a part of CNN’s regular programming. Morse has also been quoted as saying CNN Plus would be “very different from anything else that’s out in the marketplace.”
What could you watch on CNN Plus?
Outside of news content and existing CNN shows like Full Circle, CNN Plus featured original programming across a variety of genres. They included all new and exclusive documentary series like:
- The Land of the Giants: Titans of Tech – A five-part series on the rise of tech companies like Facebook, Google, and others.
- The Murdochs: Empire of Influence – A six-part look at the Murdoch family, the media moguls that own Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and more.
- The Last Movie Stars – A six-part series about the lives of the movie star couple Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.
You could also stream over 1,000 hours of CNN library programming, including all 12 seasons of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, all seven seasons of This Is Life with Lisa Ling. and much more. You could additionally go through 40 years of CNN’s news archive, to watch its coverage of major world and national events, along with episodes of the classic talk show Larry King Live.
There are already many free online streaming news outlets from TV networks like ABC and CBS, but there are just a couple of services that offer paid subscriptions similar to what CNN Plus offered. With CNN Plus now out of the game, those might be useful.
Launched in 2018 by the Fox News Channel, Fox Nation offers live streaming news and talk shows, along with original on-demand documentaries and specials. It also offers commercial-free versions of Fox News’ major prime-time opinion shows the day after new episodes are shown on the main cable channel. The cost is $5.99 a month to sign up, $64.99 for a year, or $99.99 for two years. All active US military personnel and veterans can get one year of the service for free.
UNCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service includes, among many other things, access to NBC News and MSNBC programming. That includes repeats of its major shows, along with exclusive programming as well. Peacock is available for free, but you can pay $9.99 a month to get rid of its ads.