CNN+ celebrates launch by signing up Ted Turner, inviting original anchors back and custom Twitter hashflag

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CNN is marking the launch of its highly touted streamer CNN+ with a look at its past and a variety of promotional efforts.

CNN founder and former owner Ted Turner says he was the first subscriber to sign up for the network’s new streaming service, CNN+.

Turner, now 83, founded CNN in 1980.

Eventually, Turner Broadcasting, the parent of CNN, would be merged with Time Warner. Today, CNN is owned by WarnerMedia which is owned by AT&T but in the process of being sold to Discovery.

He posted a tweet saying “As @CNN embarks on an important new chapter in its history – I’m both proud and honored to be the first subscriber of their expanded content, #CNNPlus,” he wrote in a March 29, 2022 tweet.

“Just when you think CNN covered all the bases, they innovate a new tool for keeping us informed. Well done!” the tweet concludes.

It’s not immediately clear if Turner is paying for his subscription (it costs $5.99 a month normally but the network is offering it at $2.99 for life now, though Turner can probably afford to pay full price). Whether paid or not, Turner’s subscription presumably started March 28, 2022, when the network opened the service up for signups ahead of its official launch March 29, 2022.

In another homage to its cable roots, “Reliable Sources Daily” had Dave Walker and Lois Hart, the married broadcasters to were the first anchors to appear on a CNN newscast when it launched, on as guests.

Walker and Hart left CNN for CNBC in 1989 and returned to the Sacramento, California, market, where they worked in the 1970s, to co-anchor KCRA’s local news. The remained in that role until retiring at the same time in 2008.

CNN+ is also marking its launch with a Twitter hashflag of its distinctive “+” icon.

Hashflags are similar to emojis, but are inserted as image files next to select hashtags in tweets.

Twitter implements select ones to mark notable occasions throughout the year but they are also sold as promotional packages to companies. Prices are rumored to upwards of $1 million.

Because hashflags are controlled by Twitter and inserted dynamically as images as opposed to encoded characters like emojis, users can’t remove them from their tweets and Twitter also has the ability to remove throughout its platform after the event or paid campaign ends.

Hashflags generally don’t appear in embedded tweets like the ones above.

CNN has said it’s committed to spending millions marketing CNN+ on a variety of platforms, including campaigns aimed at differentiating the service from the primary CNN feeds.

The network is heavily promoting the launch of CNN+ on its website,, with many of the primary advertising positions on the page given over to house ads encouraging users to sign up.

Many of these ads sport the “This deal is making headlines” banner, referring to that 50% discounted “deal of a lifetime” CNN+ is offering for its first four weeks.