The cable channel Max (previously known as HBO Max) is rumored to add live content from the left-leaning news network CNN owned by Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.
CNN’s streaming service, CNN+, debuted in March 2022, featuring pieces from journalists such as Audie Cornish of NPR and CNN’s Jake Tapper. The project barely lasted a few weeks since virtually no one was watching.
Warner Bros. is now reportedly seeking to switch to a different platform. A simple transition, however, is not guaranteed.
People familiar with the project say adding news on Max could be complicated.” Pay-TV providers like DirecTV and Comcast pay for cable channels to be shown to their customers and don’t like when media companies offer the same programming online.
CNN’s viewership has plummeted. The network’s primetime ratings are down 25% from the previous year. According to Nielsen, the station averaged 494,000 viewers during primetime in May.
The figure is startling because 80 million American households can access CNN. That’s slightly more than 0.5% of the total potential viewership for the network.
CNN, one can say, is despised by potential news-watching viewers.
The rapid demise of CNN’s streaming service comes as more and more Americans, especially younger ones, ditch their cable subscriptions.
From over $200 billion in 2012, global TV subscription income will drop to $173.6 billion in 2027, a decline of 0.9% per year.
By 2027, if cord-cutting continues, only 38% of American households will have pay TV, with the number of homes with pay TV falling to 49.9 million.
This means that CNN’s future is bleak. Cable providers still pay to carry the network despite its low viewership, which is why it has lasted this long. CNN also enjoys forced viewership, with public spaces tuned to their station (such as in airports), where the viewers have no alternative.
Kagan, a market research subsidiary of S&P Global Intelligence, predicts a 5% drop in ad income for CNN in 2023.