Clashing strategies doomed CNN+ amid corporate merger

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When WarnerMedia and Discovery merged earlier this month, the incoming management team faced an immediate question: What to do with CNN+.
    So at 8 午前. 四月に 11, the first morning of Warner Bros. Discovery’s corporate life, before the stock even began trading on Wall Street, the company’s new streaming boss J.B. Perrette and incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht held a critical meeting about the two week old subscription service. On the other end of the video call were CNN chief digital officer and EVP Andrew Morse, CNN+ general manager Alex MacCallum and chief technology officer Robyn Peterson.
      The meeting was Discovery’s first full look at the CNN+ business model and the initial subscriber numbers. That’s because executives at competing companies are legally barred from such discussions during a merger review process.
          But everyone in the meeting knew that Perrette and his longtime boss David Zaslav were inclined to roll all of the company’s assets into one super-sized streaming platform. Discovery executives were clear about that in public statements a number of months ago. It became even more evident when Morse, an outspoken believer in CNN+, shared his status report on April 11. Perrette’s concerns were readily apparent.
          The situationis honestly really simple,” a CNN executive remarked. “Two very different strategies for a future caught in the middle of a corporate merger.
          Ten days later, 木曜日に, CNN+ was cancelled in a highly public way. Licht and Perrette announced that the service will cease operations on April 30. Subscribers will receive prorated refunds. Hundreds of staffers will either land new positions at the companyor be laid off.
          There were certainly rumblings that the new management team was going to take some action. But few really anticipated that the entire service would be shuttered less than a month after it had debuted.
          From the POV of the leadership team that launched CNN+, one of the world’s top news brands had to start a subscription business to secure its future. It was an expensive but necessary betand had to be made regardless of merger timing.
          From the other POV, conveyed by Perrette during a town hall with staffers on Thursday, インクルード “prior leadershipof CNN endangered the brand because theydecided to just keep goingwith the planned March launch of CNN+ despite the impending merger.
          This wasn’t fair to the incoming team or all the employees who have worked so hard at CNN+,a Discovery veteran remarked. “Why not be prudent and wait two weeks till the close?”
          Discovery has tried niche streaming services in the past with little success. Perrette’s statement in the end-of-CNN+ press release spelled it out: “In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings.
          This back and forth is the talk of the media biz right now. It’s likely going to become a business school case study. So we’re going to analyze it in detailjust a couple of paragraphs from nowbut let me first say this on a personal note: TV is a team sport, そして “Reliable Sources Dailyis made by an amazing team. From the cold opens to the closing thoughts, the guest bookings to the graphics, the show is superb, thanks to the producing staff. And on Thursday evening, despite this news, we got together and planned Friday’s show.
          One of those outstanding team members, Ellie Smith, ツイート a message that went viral on Thursday. 彼女は書いた: “PSA if you’re going to tweet something snarky about CNN+, hundreds of journalists and technicians who did nothing but work their tails off just had the rug pulled out from under them. So be kind.

          More key details from the announcement

          >> Morse is leaving CNN after a transition period. He said in an internal memo thatthe vision the new leadership has for the future is different than the one we’ve had. それで大丈夫です. That’s all part of change…”
          >> Licht told staffers that he wanted Morse to stay, but respected the decision
          >> MacCallumwill step in to lead CNN Digitaland work with Lichtto determine a leadership strategy going forward,” the company announced. Execs said they intend to double down on CNN Digital’s strengths
          >> Within the halls of CNN, Licht got credit for his blunt and empathetic approach. He highlighted the quality of CNN+ and と呼ばれる its closure auniquely shitty situation.He told the affected staffers, “It is not your fault that you had the rug pulled out from underneath you.And he vowed to minimize the impacts to staff
          >> Here’s our full story for CNN Business

          Total and utter shock

          BY OLIVER DARCY:
          Astonishment and disbelief reverberated throughout the 16th floor of CNN’s Hudson Yards office, which houses some of the hundreds of CNN+ employees. “Total and utter shockis how one staffer put it to me after Licht and Perrette’s town hall meeting. “初めに, people were really freaking out,” explained the person. “その後, toward the end of the meeting, it just turned to sadness. Every team was just huddling with each other.CNN+ employees broke out bottles of whiskey and wine to commiserate, and some later retreated to nearby bars

          Nine months of pay

          ワーナーブラザーズ. Discovery executives emphasized the generous nature of the pay packages for affected employees. CNN+ staffers will remain on the payroll for three months, and will have the ability to apply for open jobs at CNN or the wider company. その後、, if they are not absorbed into the organization, they will be paid six months of severance. The untimely demise of CNN+ will draw analogies to Quibi — 実際には, それ already hasbut Quibi’s severance package was not nearly as extensive

          Part of the equation?

          BY OLIVER DARCY:
          WBD has billions in debt and executives are under pressure to realize $ 3 billion in savings. Which is to say, CNN+ was obviously an attractive opportunity when looking to implement cost-cutting measures. As CNBC’s David Faber それを置く, “Spending $ 500m a year on a venture the boss doesn’t believe in while he tries to quickly fulfill a $ 3b cost synergy promise. CNN+ never had a chance…”

          It’s all TBD

          BY OLIVER DARCY:
          So what happens to the CNN+ programming now? That’s up in the air. Licht said at the town hall that some of the contentwill have a home on CNN.Other programs may move to HBO Max or CNN Digital. Others will not continue in any form. An agent for one CNN+ host, who was set to host a weekly show on the streaming service, described their client’s program at the network as facing an uncertain future. “It’s all TBD,” the agent told me. But the agent added that the network has gone out of its way to make clear that it is committed to finding roles elsewhere for CNN+ hosts

          Lowry’s point

            BY BRIAN LOWRY:
            I think this is an easily overlooked point re: CNN+, made by the Washington Post’s Steven Zeitchik on Twitter. “It’s important to recognize that CNN isn’t giving up on reaching consumers through digital devices far from their cable box; they’re giving up on a specific branded product that was conceived by a previous corporate owner,” 彼 書きました. “There’s kind of a difference.” 確かに, there’s a major difference between using CNN as another source to provide content for a bigger streaming service and digital ventureswhich appears to be Discovery’s planand believing the brand should be positioned as a stand-alone product

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