New CNN channel to stream live on Max in an effort to reach cord cutters

Warner Bros. Discovery will offer a live streaming version of CNN on its Max service starting Sept. 27, giving consumers content from the news channel without the need for a pay TV subscription.

The news service will be called CNN Max and will use anchors from the network, including Jim Sciutto, Fredricka Whitfield, Rahel Solomon, Amara Walker and Jim Acosta, to provide breaking news coverage throughout the day, Warner Bros. Discovery said Thursday.

CNN Max will also have several programs from the flagship channel, including “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Amanpour,” “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer” and “The Lead With Jake Tapper.”

The service will attempt to attract younger consumers who get their video content through streaming instead of traditional television. The full, main CNN cable channel can only be watched live with a pay TV subscription.

Cable networks such as CNN are reliant on fees received from cable and satellite TV providers. Cord cutting is diminishing that revenue source, forcing networks to develop streaming services as an alternative means of distribution.

CNN launched a short-lived streaming service last year with CNN+, which offered a mix of live shows, newscasts, talk shows and documentary-style programs. Warner Bros. Discovery, concerned about the startup’s high costs, shut it down shortly after becoming CNN’s new parent company. The service lasted about a month.

Unlike CNN+, which was sold as a stand-alone product, CNN Max will be included as part of a Max subscription, which costs $15.99 a month to stream without ads.

Fox News launched a subscription streaming service called Fox Nation in 2018, which carries some of the network’s programming on a delayed basis along with original offerings. It could eventually stream the Fox News channel once cable and satellite distribution are no longer viable.

The three broadcast network news divisions all have free 24-hour streaming channels with CBS News Streaming, NBC News Now and ABC News Live.

Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav told analysts last month that Max had the technical capability to stream live news and sports and that the company would look at ways to add such content to the platform.

The announcement is the first major strategic initiative at CNN since the June ouster of Chris Licht, who served as the news organization’s chairman for a turbulent year. The network is currently run by a trio of veteran executives at the company — Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley and Eric Sherling — along with David Leavy, who is serving as chief operating officer.

A search is underway for new leader. Mark Thompson, the former chief executive of the New York Times, is among the candidates being considered, according to a person familiar with the discussions. A Warner Bros. Discovery representative declined to comment on the CEO search.

CNN’s ratings have been lagging behind Fox News and MSNBC for more than a year. Licht’s attempt to pull the network to the political center by booking more Republican voices failed to attract new viewers and alienated some of those who were already tuning in.

The network has also been subject to layoffs as part of the company-wide effort by Warner Bros. Discovery to cut costs and reduce its massive debt.

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