CNN to cut 100 jobs and launch digital subscription product

CNN to cut 100 jobs and launch digital subscription product
(Credit: CNN)

CNN announced plans to eliminate about 100 positions and launch its first subscription product on CNN.com later this year as it prioritizes digital expansion.

Newsroom reorganization and layoffs

In a memo sent to employees Wednesday, CNN Chief Executive Mark Thompson said the layoffs are part of a company-wide reorganization that will merge CNN’s television newsgathering and digital news divisions into a single unit. The cuts represent about 2.8% of CNN’s employee base of 3,500. “In addition to some new posts and opportunities we have opened up at CNN, we’re also announcing some staff reductions across the company today,” Thompson said. The restructuring aims to break down silos between different departments, encouraging more collaboration and “new forms of storytelling,” explained the The Warner Bros. Discovery-backed news outlet. This includes developing programming specifically for the Warner Bros. Max streaming service and exploring ways to adapt CNN’s content for “other new digital environments.”

First CNN.com subscription product

The new subscription product will be offered directly on CNN’s website. Thompson gave few specifics about the subscription offering, but said it would focus on “news you can use” and leverage existing strengths in lifestyle and featured content. The news outlet will also debut two new free ad-supported digital offerings, one based on CNN’s original series and productions, and another based on its Spanish-language service. 

Reduce its dependence on its cable-TV channel

The move comes as the company wants to reduce its dependence on its cable-TV channel. In recent quarters, CNN’s prime-time viewership has sunk to levels not seen for about a decade. Other cable-news networks have seen viewership decline since the pandemic, but to a far lesser degree than the drop experienced by CNN. CNN’s subscriber base is projected to fall 5.6% to 66.3 million in 2024 — an election year — according to estimates from Kagan, a market-research unit of S&P Global Intelligence, reported by Variety. According to Kagan, CNN ended 2023 with 70.3 million subscribers.

Reclaim the “pioneering spirit” in the evolving media landscape

CEO Mark Thompson acknowledged the need to adapt and expressed confidence that CNN can regain its footing in the evolving media landscape. “We plan to reclaim the ‘pioneering spirit’ Ted Turner talked about at our founding and regain a leadership position in the news experiences of the future,” he said. Thompson earlier served as CEO of the New York Times, where he oversaw a digital transformation that increased its subscribers from under 600,000 to more than six million. When asked if CNN would pursue a subscription bundle like the one the Times offers, he said: “It’s a logical possibility.”


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