WarnerMedia is reportedly mulling the potential launch of two new streaming services outside its new HBO Max flagship product: a 24-hour news platform carrying the CNN brand; and an AVOD service the includes content from the conglomerate’s TNT and TBS cable network properties.
Citing unnamed sources, The Information reports that WarnerMedia is in the early stages of planning a subscription news service that would launch next year. To avoid cannibalization of the core CNN cable news property, the platform wouldn’t include CNN’s core offering of hourlong news shows hosted by personalities including Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and Chris Cuomo. Rather, it would feature “a lineup that could include custom-made shows, such as documentary specials on different topics, specials that drill down on issues of the day featuring its talent as well as international programming that may have never aired on CNN.”
The Information said that a separate entertainment-focused service would be ad-supported and feature content from WarnerMedia cable networks including TNT and TBS.
WarnerMedia has not definitively decided to launch either service, The Information adds.
Under the direction of parent company AT&T, which purchased Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion in 2018 and rebranded it as WarnerMedia, the media conglomerate has aggressively restructured its business of late to focus on video streaming, putting former Hulu chief Jason Kilar in charge of the whole business.
The company’s latest disruptive move came last week, when it announced that the full 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical movie slate would debut day and date on HBO Max.
As AT&T and WarnerMedia walk the fine line of ramping up streaming video revenue without sunsetting the pay TV business too quickly, it’s been assumed by many video industry watchers that assets like CNN, TNT and TBS would be rolled into an ad-supported iteration of HBO Max, that would roll out sometime in 2021.
The Information report suggests, however, that WarnerMedia is far from decided as to how to integrate its cable network assets.
In fact, it's still unclear as to whether CNN chief Jeff Zucker will have his soon-to-expire contract renewed.
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