CNN finally announces its streaming service plans

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CNN, the network that essentially invented the cable news genre, has become the last of the major ones to announce its streaming product.

Though rumored for months, CNN executives finally announced plans to launch CNN+ in the first quarter of 2022 July 19, 2021, according to Brian Stelter, the network’s media reporter.

The plan is for the service to offer eight to twelve hours of live programming a day, complemented by original series create just for the service and others culled from the network’s archives as well as an “interactive community” that would allow views to interest with on air talent.

CNN did not announce pricing or further schedule or talent details July 19, though it has been reported that former NBC and MSNBC correspondent and anchor Kasie Hunt has signed on to the network and will play a prominent role in the streamer. Neither CNN nor Hunt have confirmed the move, for which she will reportedly be paid between $1 million and $1.5 million a year.

The network has also been hiring “hundreds” of people and has “dozens” of programs in development for the service. All told, the network said it will hire more than 450 to work for the service in wide range of roles.

Plans call for the service to steer clear of being a “headline service” — in an apparent move to differentiate itself from the main CNN fed (or another incarnation of the original format of the network now known as HLN). Instead, it’s being touted as more of a deep dive into events and issues of the day.

Chief Digital Officer Andrew Morse told Stelter CNN+ will be “very different from anything else that’s out in the marketplace” (which is what pretty much every executive says about their streaming services).

CNN is a bit late in the game, despite having revolutionized TV news when launching its cable channel in 1980. Rival Fox was first with Fox Nation, a subscription streaming service that’s said to already be profitable that often features even more audacious right wing opinion and analysis than its main feed does.

NBC News followed with NBC News Now, which, in many ways, also serves as the streaming version of its cable news offering MSNBC. Through Peacock, Comcast’s streamer that includes content from across the NBCUniversal family, MSNBC also launched a standalone channel called “The Choice” (now “The Choice by MSNBC”) in late 2020. NBC News Now is similarly available as a channel on the service, which also offers the on demand format associated with streaming services.

Fox Nation normally charges $5.99 a month for its service, though a variety of free trials and special first month pricing is available.

NBC News Now doesn’t charge anything, but it is ad supported.

CNN already runs CNNgo, a live stream of its various network feeds, but this service is only available to cable or satellite subscribers who receive the network through a paid package. It doesn’t charge extra for using the stream and subscribers still see advertising, similar to what they would on the “regular” channels.

Most cable networks can’t air a simultaneous live stream of their main feed for free due to exclusivity deals with carriers.

Fox Nation has announced it starts to air repeats of some of its most popular programs the the day after they air, which is typically allowed under carriage agreements.