Nothing feels worse than being kicked while you’re already down. That’s a piece of wisdom as old as time itself. And nobody knows the feeling more than the hundreds of CNN+ staffers that CNN fired just a month after launch.
So what’s worse than getting fired from your exciting new job? Getting a corporate gift box mailed to you to help raise morale by talking about the bright future for CNN+ and the now unemployed staffers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the boxes included branded gear from pens to food containers, as well as larger gifts such as popcorn makers and headphones. They added that some of the boxes even included welcome notes.
“This is an incredible time to be part of CNN,” one note said. “Build relationships and take time to connect with colleagues and learn so that you make the most of your time here.”
CNN told the Wall Street Journal that the boxes were sent out by mistake.
CNN+, the now defunct streaming service which the network had hailed as the future of CNN, had almost 400 staffers and cost roughly $300 million of startup investment to get it off the ground. It charged it’s users $5.99-per-month for original content.
CNN was recently bought out following a $43 million merger between Warner Media and Discovery. The new management immediately examined the newly launched streaming service, and within almost no time ordered it to be shuttered.
The new Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav made the decision to end CNN+ after learning service signed up a mere 150,000 subscribers several weeks after launch and was only able to keep between 5,000 and 10,000 active users at any given time, according to reports. CNN employees tried to argue it was still on track to hit 2 million subscribers in year 1, however at the point the order had been given.
CNN’s new head Chris Licht, who was chosen to replace Jeff Zucker after CNN saw a historic fall into oblivion under his watch, addressed the former CNN+ staffers following the announcement, simply saying, “This is a uniquely sh–ty situation.”
CNN had also jumped the gun by having a giant CNN+ statue commissioned and added to their headquarters prior to the launch. The statue was removed and has already been replaced with one foe HBO Max, the merged company’s main streaming service.
Do you think CNN will be able to recover with new management focusing on a new direction for the company? Do you think their position in the cable lineup is still a huge advantage for them or do you think streaming has changed the game?