Yep, just three weeks after launch, Warner Bros. Discovery pulled the plug on the latest stupid streaming service, CNN+.
But before we go further, we need to define terms: what is streaming. The best way to define it is by example: Netflix is streaming, Hulu is (mostly) broadcasting over the internet. There’s technology differences there with packets and whatnot, and I’m not fluent in that and a tech blog could (and probably has) gone into detail on the differences.
Anyway, the user goes to a carousel of shows and picks something to watch and a server somewhere sends you an already recorded program which you watch, ad-free. More on that in a moment.
We could go into dissertation-length analysis of what went wrong, but here’s my Cartesian analysis: Streaming is about entertainment and the news and sports are the media categories that will never be streamed-on-demand. By definition, they must be presented live. (and on linear television? maybe?)
The problem with 24-hour cable news (in general) is that there is not enough news to fill the time (Americans are not much interested in the rest of the world except for big stories; CNN in Europe is a completely different beast than here). CNN moved from repetitive headline news to their dreadful Powerhouse Panel model to fill the void. Also: real reporting is expensive, those panels are cheap filler.
Then there is the entire question of advertising: Streaming (so far) is (mostly) ad-free (see Hulu for the oddball case). The model requires a subscription to cover costs, which are considerable. So who is going to pay a premium to see Powerhouse Panels-style programming because they don’t want ads? And that was really the crux of the matter: there was no demand for this service.
Streaming is working out their technology issues and their business models. My utopian vision is that in the future there will be an app for each streaming service (like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) some programming will be ad-supported and there will be within app purchases for premium content to be shown ad-free. And remember this: you will be watching what you want from wherever you are, whenever you want. The person sitting on the bus next to you could be watching the same show and see an entirely different set of ads. The Google/Facebook model of selling your date will expand to these services.
*See what I did there?