CNN, the left–wing news channel owned by Warner Bros Discovery, Inc., is reportedly set to add live programming to cable channel Max in a desperate attempt to revive its plummeting ratings.
The failure of CNN+—a streaming service launched just a couple of weeks ago—underscores the desperate situation the network is in. Viewers never materialized for the service, which featured segments from Chris Wallace, Audie Cornish, and Jake Tapper.
But the move to Max may be complicated. “Pay–TV providers like Comcast Corp. and DirecTV typically pay for the right to offer cable channels to their subscribers and are sensitive about efforts by media companies to offer the same programming online,” Bloomberg News reported.
It’s unclear if this desperate move by CNN will do anything to help its dismal ratings. In May, the network posted a massive 25% decline in primetime ratings compared to a year before and just more than 0.5% of its available audience tuned in.
It’s no surprise that CNN’s ratings have cratered. The network, which is available in 80 million U.S. households, is increasingly out of step with mainstream audiences. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, “Cord–Cutting to Reduce Pay TV to Just 38 Percent of U.S. Households by 2027, PwC Forecasts.”
It’s not just audiences who are growing tired of CNN’s far–left leanings. Much of the network’s ad revenue has dried up too. Variety notes that CNN is projected to see 2023 ad revenue fall about 5%, to $562.6 million, according to Kagan, a market–research unit of S&P Global Intelligence.
The jury is still out on whether Max will help revive CNN’s flailing ratings. It’s possible the network could find an audience on the cable channel, which is better known for its drama television shows, and films. But it’s more likely that viewers simply don’t want to watch CNN’s extreme liberal content.
This latest move by CNN is a last-gasp attempt to attract more viewers, but it’s likely to fail as the audience for cable news continues to shrink. It remains to be seen if this gambit will make or break the network.