by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
How long will CNN+, an utterly doomed proposition that has already spent $300 million and attracted virtually no viewers in its first month, last? Two years? One? Will it even make it to the midterms?
Insiders are already leaking damaging information to rival news outlets, with both Axios and CNBC getting in on the fun this week. The former reports that the new streaming service is looking at losses of hundreds of millions, and is already planning layoffs and scaling back its original planned investment of $1 billion. The latter reports that “fewer than 10,000” are watching the app on any given day. What does that mean? Five thousand? Three? One? Is anybody watching? Zero is fewer than 10,000. Why would anybody watch? They’re dying to pay 6 bucks a month for a little more Wolf Blitzer?
Launching a big, bold new gamble when the company was on the verge of being sold and changing corporate leadership was a demented move on the part of outgoing WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who seemingly wanted to leave a monument to his greatness as he was being kicked out into the alley with the food scraps. Kilar is the guy who famously gave a Master-of-the-Universe interview bragging about his visionary vision to the Wall Street Journal at the exact moment his bosses at AT&T were selling the company without telling him to folks who had new management in mind. Kilar is a kind of Daffy Duck character who is always telling everybody that his schemes make perfect sense, even when he presided over such catastrophes as driving the company’s signature filmmaker out of the company and into the arms of a rival. True to form, Kilar went out the door bragging about CNN+, which he farcically claimed was exceeding his expectations just a week ago.