And why would it?
The profitability of news organizations has always been a mixed bag. Network news tended to be a value add to get people watching a particular channel. CNN made cable news into a viable business model back when breaking news meant cable. In the internet age, breaking news means social media.
CNN’s bet on its own streaming service, CNN+, was the epitome of Peak TV folly,
Last year, I dubbed it The Last Days of CNN.
CNN+ is the network’s bet that enough people will pay 6 bucks a month to watch it.
CNN’s effort to launch CNN+, a paid streaming service, at a time when its core ratings are crashing is confusing observers who wonder why the news network thinks people will pay for CNN when they won’t even watch it for free.
CNN President Jeff Zucker billed CNN+ as being for “CNN superfans, news junkies and fans of quality non-fiction programming.”
CNN execs claimed that 2 million would subscribe. They got 10,000 subscriptions instead. Warner Bros. Discovery, they hybrid content company, quickly shut down CNN+.
And so what now?
Projections from S&P Global Market Intelligence say that CNN’s profitability is on pace to decline to $956.8 million this year. That would mark the first time since 2016 that the network has dipped below $1 billion in profit, according to three people familiar with its operations.
Think of that as BT and AT, before and after Trump. As I predicted back in 2017, “Trump is the media’s golden goose. The media is making a fortune trying to kill him. Even as it knows that the fortune will vanish in a moment if its fake news echo chamber of innuendo actually got its way. Subtract Trump and CNN and MSNBC got back to the ratings basement. The lights go off on Colbert’s stage and the Washington Post and the New York Times get ready for their own extinction.”
Ratings are down from their Trump-era heights across cable news, but declines at CNN are particularly pronounced. The network has drawn an average of 639,000 people in prime time this quarter, according to data from Nielsen, a 27 percent decrease from a year ago.
CNN has no post-Trump business strategy except a slow decline.
The next month, when Chris Licht took over as CNN’s chairman, he told employees in his first town hall meeting not to worry about ratings
You tell that to people with very low expectations.
CNN’s parent has also cracked down on expenses. In July, CNN employees received a revised travel and expense policy that, among other things, restricts spending on work celebrations for senior vice presidents and below to $50 per person
Now you know it’s bad.