A person walks past the headquarters of the Cable News Network (CNN) on November 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
CNN is coming to streaming — again.
Warner Bros. Discovery announced Thursday that CNN Max will be added to its Max streaming service on Sept. 27, and will serve as a 24/7 live news hub.
It will feature content from top anchors — such as Jim Acosta, Rahel Solomon, Amara Walker, Fredricka Whitfield and Jim Scuitto — built just for the streaming app, as well as mainstay CNN programming like “Anders Cooper 360,” “Amanpour,” and “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
Earlier this year Warner Bros. Discovery relaunched its flagship streaming service HBO Max as Max, combining content from Warner Bros. and Discovery+ under one roof. While some CNN content has been featured on the app, such as documentaries, news and sports have yet to be included.
The move to add CNN news to Max also comes more than a year after the company shut down streamer CNN+, just weeks after the app launched and after Warner Bros. and Discovery completed their merger.
CNN has been in turmoil for some time — from the resignation of former leader Jeff Zucker in early 2022 to the swift closure of CNN+ to more recently the ouster of chief Chris Licht after a series of missteps. Semafor on Wednesday reported that Mark Thompson, the former BBC and New York Times chief, was being considered for the top role at CNN.
Still, the move toward streaming was inevitable, even with the shift away from a standalone app like CNN+.
During an earnings call earlier this month, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav called news and sports “differentiators” that can make platforms, including streaming, “really alive.”
“I’ve talked about news and sports as artillery and a real opportunity for us. So, we’ll be coming to you guys soon. We’ve been working this summer very hard,” Zaslav said at the time.
As for including sports on Max, Warner Bros. Discovery is targeting the start of MLB playoffs this fall to introduce sports on the streaming app, CNBC previously reported.
It’s been a delicate dance for streamers to add live feeds or simulcasts of pay-TV networks like CNN to their services, however, and requires negotiations with pay-TV distributors. The pay-TV companies hand over high fees to exclusively run the networks on their bundles, and are remiss to allow a replicated feed on streaming, especially as the rate of cord-cutting accelerates.