Thursday morning the new management team at Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), the newly merged combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery Networks, announced that CNN’s streaming channel, CNN+, will be shutting down at the end of April. It was startling news about the new service that was only launched three weeks ago.
According to CNN’s own reporting, the decision to end the venture was due to WBD’s incoming CEO David Zaslav’s plan to house all of the company’s brands under one streaming service. Zaslav said that…
“In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings […] We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world’s premier reputational assets, will play an important role there.”
While the strategic logic of that position is apparent, it cannot be understated how sloppily this matter was executed. The new CEO of CNN, Chris Licht, conceded that it was a “uniquely shitty situation.” Elaborating, he said that CNN+ had an “incredibly successful launch” but that it was “simply incompatible with the newly merged company’s plans.” Despite the turmoil, there are expectations that much of the new programming will still be part of whatever eventually emerges.
To no one’s surprise, Donald Trump weighed in on this news with his customary noxious bluster. He posted a tweet (via his Twitter ban defying spokes-shill) that completely distorted the facts and demonstrated his distinctive brand of flagrant dishonesty. Trump ranted…
“Congratulations to CNN+ on their decision to immediately FOLD for a lack of ratings, or viewers in any way, shape, or form. It was like an empty desert out there despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars and the hiring of low-rated Chris Wallace, a man who tried so hard to be his father, Mike, but lacked the talent and whatever else is necessary to be a star. In any event, it’s just one more piece of CNN and Fake News that we don’t have to bother with anymore!”
Trump’s first lie in that outburst is that CNN+ folded “for a lack of ratings.” And the way we know that’s true is because there are no ratings for streaming apps. Trump is, once again, just making stuff up. The truth is that CNN+ signed up more than 100,000 viewers in three short weeks, well within their projections. And the service will undoubtedly relaunch when WBD finalizes the unified format for its streaming programming.
If Trump is really interested in identifying “an empty desert” in the media world, all he has to do is check in with his own parched and barren “TRUTH Social” Twitter clone. To date it has failed spectacularly. It cannot attract users. Even the users who have already signed up can’t log on. Trump himself doesn’t use the site.
Trump is said to be furious that his attempt at revenge against Twitter for banning him has cratered so badly. The Daily Beast reports that Trump has been overheard on the phone “swearing gratuitously” and asking “What the f*ck is going on?” with TRUTH Social.
That, however, is a question Trump should already know the answer to, considering that he has a notorious record for catastrophic business failures that is unparalleled in modern times. His numerous, and narcissistically self-branded projects – from casinos to airlines to games to steaks to vodka – all ended in humiliation and ruin. Even his prized real estate ventures have proven to be duds.
The man Trump put at the helm of TRUTH(less) Anti(Social), Devin Nunes has been making desperate trips to Fox News where he could lie unchallenged about the site’s “success.” But anyone foolish enough to invest in the venture has likely lost a bundle. The site keeps missing launch dates, and it is currently being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for “irregularities.”
One fund manager is predicting that the stock serving as the investment vehicle for TRUTH Social will fall to $10.00 and will fail to complete its merger with Trump’s company. It has already declined 67% from it’s high at the beginning of March.
The mess that WBD has made of the CNN+ launch may be costly and embarrassing, but it is temporary and the parent corporation has deep pockets. It will recover and offer its media products in a new and profitable form. But Trump’s ventures are permanently hobbled by his incompetence and inability to manage a successful business of any kind. The only thing he’s any good at is whining and flinging impotent insults as his enemies. Which is all he’s doing here.
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