Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) says its cornerstone streaming service Max will soon include live content from CNN’s domestic and international news channels.
The programming will be offered through a new linear content channel called CNN Max, which will debut in late September at no additional cost to Max subscribers in the United States.
The channel will operate around-the-clock, and offer a handful of original digital news productions that WBD says is part of an “open beta” meant to encourage experimentation and new ways of innovative television journalism, some of which could eventually wind up on the main CNN cable channels.
WBD is prevented from offering the bulk of CNN’s domestic channel programming through its own streaming service due to contracts with existing cable and satellite providers, which require a degree of exclusivity. Some of those deals are being re-worked so that the bulk of CNN’s content can eventually be offered through Max; for now, CNN Max will have to do.
Those exclusive deals were the foundation for CNN Plus, a streaming service launched by WBD’s predecessor WarnerMedia last year, when the company was a subsidiary of AT&T. WarnerMedia was spun off into a separate company, one that immediately merged with Discovery Communications; the combined WBD shut down CNN Plus less than a month after it launched.
CNN Max is not the reincarnation of CNN Plus. Instead, WBD executives affirmed on Thursday that the content block will not be offered as a standalone streaming app, but will live entirely inside Max.
Currently, a subscription to Max starts at $10 a month for a version supported by ad interruptions, and $16 a month for ad-free streaming of on-demand content.
“CNN Max is differentiated by having 24/7 news at its core from CNN, the leading global news organization, and being available on a scaled streaming service in the U.S., which has a significantly younger and additive audience compared to traditional TV,” J.B. Perrette, the CEO and president of global streaming and games at WBD, said in a statement. “This provides even more quality choices for Max customers who will be able to easily catch up on what is happening in the world, particularly in moments of breaking news, all within one seamless experience. We’re excited to engage our Max community in this initial beta stage to help us learn and develop what appeals most to our customers in this new genre.”
Currently, some CNN documentaries and original programming is offered through a special section of Max called “CNN Originals.” Starting next month, the CNN Originals tab will be rebranded to CNN Max, which will include the live content stream and access to a vast library of CNN content on-demand.