CNN Plus sees less than 10,000 users a day, report says

(Image courtesy CNN Worldwide/Graphic by The Desk)

CNN Plus is drawing less than 10,000 daily active users to the service each day, according to non-public data shared with a competing news outlet.

On Tuesday, financial news channel CNBC said information provided to them on condition of anonymity “cast doubt on the future of the application,” even though it has only been around for two weeks.

A CNN spokesperson said the company was “happy with the launch and its progress after only two weeks.”

The service was initially only available to users of Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV devices, as well as Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. It was made available to users of Roku devices for the first time this week.

The complexity of launching a streaming service while navigating carriage deals and developing for different platforms is not new to WarnerMedia, the former parent company of CNN Plus. The company, which was a subsidiary of AT&T until last week, experienced similar challenges when it launched the blockbuster entertainment service HBO Max, which wasn’t initially supported by Roku or Amazon Fire TV, the two biggest streaming platforms by customer volume in the United States.

Comcast experienced similar headaches when its streaming service, Peacock, was also unavailable on Roku and Amazon Fire TV platforms at launch. Those issues were eventually resolved, but nearly two years after the service became available to streamers, Comcast continues to lose money on Peacock, and customer adoption has, at times, been stagnant.

CNBC, the story that reported on CNN Plus’ own stagnant growth after less than a month of its existence, is also owned by Comcast, though the network didn’t disclose its company’s own struggles in the direct-to-consumer streaming space in its report on Tuesday.

Unlike Peacock, other factors are at play that could account for CNN Plus’ stagnant daily active use. The network’s parent company, WarnerMedia, was recently spun off from AT&T and merged with Discovery, and the dust from that merger is still settling.

The network also suffered from a serious executive shake-up earlier this year when long-time president Jeffrey Zucker abruptly resigned during an internal probe. CNN’s new president, Chris Licht, is not set to start at the network until May 1.

Jason Kilar, the chief executive at WarnerMedia who directed many of the company’s ambitious consumer streaming initiatives, resigned last Friday ahead of WarnerMedia’s merge with Discovery.

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