CNN+ subtracts two days from its own (short) life

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

In perhaps a fitting ode to the spectacular failure that was CNN+, the network has announced it’s shuttering the streaming service two days early — plus giving everyone their money back.

Initially, new owner Warner Bros. Discovery said the service would shut down April 30, 2022 in its April 21, 2022 announcement of the decision.

Now, subscribers are being notified via email that that date has been moved up to April 28, 2022.

It’s been noted that April 28, 2022 appears to align with the date signups for the service initially opened — March 28, 2022, a day earlier than expected.

That could help prevent users from being charged for another month only to have to refund most of it the next day.

CNN had previously pledged to refund all subscribers on a prorated basis for the unused portion of their subscription. This would have potentially resulted in people getting charged $3.99 only to be refunded about $3.75, assuming a “per day” rate of about 24 cents.

CNN likely would have lost even more money processing all of those refunds because many credit card processors still retain at least a portion of their fees even if a full refund is issued.

The network is also saying that all subscribers will get a full refund for the first (and only) month the service was available. The network had previously stopped accepting signups and also has said that all new programming plus the archive of nonfiction documentaries and specials will no longer be available effective April 28.

This is notable because the service will now have the distinction of having effectively generated zero revenue for the company. Assuming the 150,000 signup number reported by internal CNN sources is correct, CNN could have at least made around $598,500 off its first month.

However, that revenue is minuscule in comparison to the $300 million-plus that was invested in the effort.

CNN is saying that it expected to process refunds for all direct signups by May 28, 2022. Users who subscribe via Amazon or Apple should also receive a refund, but CNN is advising users to contact those companies for details. Google Play and Roku subscribers should also get a refund automatically.

Users who already canceled their CNN+ subscriptions are also eligible for a full refund, but will have to contact whoever billed them to make arrangements for that.

CNN says it will automatically cancel all accounts.

Although issuing refunds will be costly, CNN has probably figured it’s not worth keeping the minimal revenue it brought in. The service also notably discontinued two of its most hyped daily shows, “The Source with Kasie Hunt” and “Reliable Sources Daily” April 22, 2022.

It wasn’t immediately clear why these shows ended early.