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Scoop: Warner Bros. Discovery plans new 24-hour livestream called CNN Max

CNN Graphic
Thought Leader: Sara Fischer
August 24, 2023
Source: AXIOS
Written by: Sara Fischer

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is planning to launch a livestream channel for CNN on its streaming platform Max that will include 24 hours of live content, sources told Axios. Cable operators and CNN staff are being informed this week of the plans, per the sources.

Why it matters: WBD executives were quick to dismantle CNN+, the subscription streaming service CNN’s previous leadership had launched last year. Now they’re racing to build a new CNN streaming strategy that suits their own objectives.

Catch up quick: One of WBD CEO David Zaslav’s first moves when he combined WarnerMedia with Discovery last year was to kill CNN+, the expensive subscription streaming service that was the brainchild of former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker.

Details: The new livestream section for CNN, called CNN Max, will feature parts of CNN International’s North America feed, in addition to four hours of exclusive programming for Max on weekdays.

Between the lines: The service is different from CNN+ in that it leans much more heavily into live news, as opposed to personality programming centered around the network’s talent.

The effort is being led internally by CNN executive vice president and general counsel David Vigilante.

Yes, but: An expedited rollout means that so far, product and monetization features are limited.

Be smart: Adding live programming to Max could help the service compete against rivals that already include live content, like Paramount+.

Yes, but: Integrating CNN into Max could create new headaches for WBD, including alienating conservative Max subscribers who are disenchanted with the network’s coverage because they believe it leaned to the left in the Trump years.

The big picture: Nearly every major broadcast and cable news network has some sort of standalone streaming strategy to help those networks hedge against the inevitable collapse of the traditional television bundle.

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