Warner Bros. Discovery is set to make a significant move into the streaming arena with the announcement of CNN Max. This strategic step aims to leverage live news to enhance user engagement on the company’s flagship streaming service, Max. The launch is scheduled for September 27th.
The Birth of CNN Max
News that CNN is reentering the streaming domain comes after a series of notable events:
- Warner Bros. Discovery revamped its primary streaming service, HBO Max, merging content from Warner Bros. and Discovery+ under the name “Max”.
- While the Max service already featured CNN content like documentaries, it had not yet incorporated live news and sports.
- The reintroduction of CNN into the streaming space follows the closure of the CNN+ app shortly after its inception, a decision made weeks after the Warner Bros. and Discovery merger.
Why the Emphasis on Streaming?
Warner Bros. Discovery’s focus on integrating live news into their streaming platform can be attributed to several reasons:
- Historical Challenges: CNN has faced numerous challenges recently, from executive resignations and platform shutdowns to management changes. This has made a shift towards a more digital-first strategy vital.
- Streaming as the Future: David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, has emphasized the importance of news and sports as “differentiators” for streaming platforms. He believes they can invigorate platforms, making them more lively and engaging for users.
- Engagement Strategy: Analysts see live news as a tool to combat subscriber churn in streaming services. As Jessica Reif Ehrlich from Bank of America points out, while the news may not necessarily attract new subscribers, it does boost engagement and retain existing users.
What to Expect from CNN Max
CNN Max aims to provide users with an immersive news experience:
- Content will be helmed by top anchors like Jim Acosta, Rahel Solomon, and others, featuring flagship CNN programming and new offerings crafted explicitly for the streaming audience.
- Warner Bros. Discovery emphasizes the “immediacy and value of global breaking news” with CNN Max. The intent is to cater to the Max streaming audience with on-demand access to top stories globally.
- CNN Max will be distinct from the linear cable CNN network. However, viewers will still have access to hallmark CNN shows and new content tailored for the streaming app.
With CNN Max, Warner Bros. Discovery aims to strike a balance between pure entertainment and news. This service seeks to cater to the modern viewer’s needs, offering flexibility and a diverse content range. Furthermore, the introduction of sports into the Max platform, as highlighted by reports from CNBC, further indicates the company’s ambition to provide a comprehensive streaming experience.
The launch of CNN Max signals Warner Bros. Discovery’s commitment to adapt and innovate in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. By leveraging CNN’s renowned global news-gathering capabilities and catering to younger, tech-savvy audiences, the company aims to establish itself as a dominant player in the streaming world.
While the journey has been a roller coaster for CNN, with ventures into streaming like CNN+ not bearing the expected fruit, the strategy now seems more holistic. The objective is not just to transplant traditional content onto a new platform, but to adapt and cater content specifically for the digital-first audience.