CNN+ finds streaming is hard, has fewer than 10,000 daily users

Cnn Plus Logo
Cnn Plus Logo (Image credit: CNN)

What you need to know

  • CNN+ reportedly has fewer than 10,000 daily users.
  • The news-based streaming service launched two weeks ago.
  • Almost 775,000 people watch CNN via cable TV.

If anyone wanted to know just how hard it is to launch a streaming service, they need look no further than CNN+. The news-based streaming service reportedly has fewer than 10,000 daily users two weeks after it launched.

While not directly a competitor to Apple TV+, Netflix, and other content streaming services, CNN+ is finding that while those offerings can successfully ask for money its news content is a more difficult sell. According to a new CNBC report, the CNN+ service is so unpopular that fewer than 10,000 people are watching it on the daily.

For comparison, CNN's cable channel gets almost 775,000 people to watch it each and every day.

With apps available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, CNN+ has a presence on all of Apple's devices but its $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year price is proving problematic. The company is currently offering people the chance to pay just $2.99 for life, a 50% saving, and it's still finding it difficult to pull in viewers. And this after spending on big-name talent to front the new service, too.

CNN sought to make a huge splash with CNN+, luring big-name talent from rival news networks, such as Kasie Hunt from NBC News and Chris Wallace from Fox News. But there is broad skepticism whether there's enough demand to sustain a stand-alone news streaming service, with entertainment-first options dominating the landscape. Disney+, for instance, posted more than 10 million subscribers on its first day.

That comparison with Disney+ is perhaps a little harsh, but the point does still stand — selling a streaming service isn't easy and there is now no way to be sure that CNN+ will stand the test of time. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav could still kill the service off completely, something that seems more likely by the day.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.