Sunday, July 14, 2024

Report: CNN Cutting 100 Jobs as It Prepares Subscription Product

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CNN is reportedly cutting about 100 jobs as it prepares its new CNN.com subscription product.

That’s according to a Wednesday (July 10) report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which notes the move comes as the company is looking to become less reliant on its TV channel.

The report cites a memo from CEO Mark Thompson to employees which says CNN’s television newsgathering and digital-news divisions would be combined as the company places a greater emphasis on its digital expansion.

“We recognize its potentially enormous impact on the individuals affected,” Thompson said in an interview with the WSJ.

CNN, which has more than 3,500 employees, said the cuts would take place throughout the company. Thompson’s memo said the network was creating a billion-dollar-plus digital business. He declined to offer the WSJ specifics about the coming digital-subscription service but said it would “be significantly built out of CNN.com.”

Reports of the planned subscription service first emerged in January, when Thompson outlined plans to combine the network’s TV, streaming and digital presence.

As PYMNTS wrote at the time, these changes are happening as consumers’ media diets are moving away from traditional cable, with consumers canceling their cable and pay TV subscriptions by the millions every year.

Cord cutting started in 2008 — right around the time of the Great Recession — and slowly gained a head of steam as millennials, mostly, gravitated to the streaming content that they could access on their laptops or connected TVs — and soon thereafter, their smartphones,” PYMNTS’ Karen Webster wrote last fall.

 “Netflix and specialty websites filled the news and entertainment content gap with better content delivered via new and cheaper business models. The ranks of the cord cutters rose.”

As that report also noted, CNN does have a somewhat spotty track record with subscription models. In 2022, the short-lived CNN+ shut down one month after launching in the wake of WarnerMedia and Discovery’s merger.

And in times of economic distress, consumers aren’t keen on adding more digital media subscriptions. The report “The One-Stop Bill Pay Playbook: Drivers of Consumers’ Bill Payment Priorities,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Mastercard collaboration, found that only 22% would prioritize paying their digital media subscription bills in full above others. Meanwhile, 20% would skip payment on their digital media bills until they could afford it, 20% would pay just a portion of the bill and 38% would cancel the service.

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