It appears CNN+ hasn’t been a big hit yet
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
While exact CNN+ subscriber data isn’t being released, multiple reports are suggesting that the paid streaming service isn’t becoming a runaway hit.
CNN has said it will not be releasing subscriber figures. It’s not uncommon for media outlets to keep such figures secret and, even during required financial disclosures, bundle the revenue with other sources to make it difficult to discern just how well an initiative is doing.
Trying to determine CNN+ signups is complicated a bit by the fact that it’s being offered, for iOS and Android devices, via the existing CNN app, unlike some other streamers that offer a separate one.
According to data from Sensor Tower obtained by Business Insider, CNN’s app is estimated to have seen 18,000 downloads on launch day across major U.S. app stores, which is double the 9,000 estimate it receives on a typical day.
There was also a 33% jump in app installs during the first six days of CNN+’s life.
By comparison, other estimates show the CNN app was downloaded an estimated 27,000 times on Jan. 6, 2021, the date of the Capitol insurrection.
Without any internal data, it’s impossible to know how many of those new downloads resulted in CNN+ signups.
Since about 9,000 of those downloads likely would have happened even if CNN+ had not launched, they likely could be removed from the total count.
It’s also possible that users downloaded the app with the intention of checking out CNN+ without realizing it’s a paid service and ultimately jumped ship.
CNN is offering a free trial of the service as well, which could complicate data. Another wrinkle is that users wanting to take advantage of the 50% launch discount couldn’t get the free trial, meaning at least some people were stuck between deciding to fork over money for “yet another streaming service” or not.
CNN+ can also be accessed via a web browser and those signups wouldn’t be accounted for in the app download estimates.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that app download data is typically only estimates and use a variety of methodology to determine its figures.
CNN likely knows the exact number of times people started considering CNN+ and how many people ultimately started a free trial or paid subscription thanks to a number of analytics tools it has at its disposal.
About the only thing that’s somewhat clear is that the CNN+ launched likely triggered about 9,000 more people than a normal day to be interested enough to download the app.
It’s essentially impossible that all of those new users ultimately signed up for CNN+, however.
There’s no public data available that would shed light on browser-based signups or existing app users who signed up, however.
For every 1,000 people who sign up at the discounted rate, CNN generates $2,990 in revenue per month, or $35,880 per year.
The network reportedly invested millions in the service, including hiring some pricey talent, so it’s not clear how many subscribers it would take for the service to be profitable.
All this comes as WarnerMedia is on the cusp of being merged with Discovery, which has already to investors it plans to eventually combine its own Discovery+ and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max paid streamers, though no plans for CNN+ were mentioned.
Some media watchers say CNN+’s days are limited, especially given the upcoming merger. They point out that CNN+ doesn’t have a clear audience and its production costs may outweigh what revenue it can bring in.
Others, however, have praised the service as innovative and a good strategic step for a cable network to take as cord cutting increases and consumers switch to streaming.