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CNN plans to launch paid streaming service, cut 100 jobs

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CNN, which has struggled amid the decline of the US cable broadcasting industry, plans to launch a new paid streaming service and to cut about 100 jobs, the company’s CEO said Wednesday.

The network, which once set the pace in cable news, aims for its new $1 billion-plus subscription news product to launch before the end of 2024, Chief Executive Mark Thompson said in a memo to staff.

“We are creating best-in-class, subscriber-first products that provide need-to-know news, analysis and context in compelling formats and experiences,” Thompson said.

“This starts with our first subscription product launching before the end of 2024.”

CNN had unveiled a short-lived for-pay streaming service in 2022 before quickly pulling the plug due to the merger between CNN parent company WarnerMedia and Discovery.

About a year later, Chris Licht was replaced as CEO by Thompson, formerly of the BBC and the New York Times, following criticism of the network’s editorial direction.

Under the new plan, CNN aims for its initial “need-to-know” subscription product to be followed by “want-to-use” paid offerings centered on lifestyle journalism, Thompson said.

CNN also plans to merge three separate newsrooms for US newsgathering, international newsgathering and global digital news into a single organisation.

As a result, the company expects to eliminate about 100 jobs out of the 3,500-person global workforce, Thompson said.

Ratings for CNN in the United States have lately lagged those of rivals Fox News and MSNBC. CNN hosted the first US presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on June 27.

 

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