Streaming Wars can be free for everyone

On Thursday, Warner Bros. said. Discovery that they would shut down its streaming service CNN + just weeks after it made its debut.


Photo:

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A year ago, we would have emptied our bank accounts of the possibility of streaming anything. Chess, but sexy. Prosthetic beasts dating. Criminal tiger trainer. 80s alien tarantula, upside down. Give it to us, all at the same time.

Now America seems to have flowed out. Shares in Netflix NFLX -1.24%

had their worst day on the stock market since 2004 on Wednesday after the streaming giant said it lost first-quarter subscribers for over a decade. Things are apparently so bleak that the company, which for years has sold itself as a commercially free haven, also said it would explore a cheaper, ad-supported version of the platform.

It better be cheap. On Thursday, Warner Bros. Discovery WBD -4,10%

said it would shut down its streaming service CNN + just weeks after it debuted. The price of $ 5.99 a month was seen as “unaffordable” by business leaders, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Journal reported that Warner Bros. had poured about $ 300 million into the streaming project, which got fewer than 100,000 subscribers.

At least it’s not as much as Pershing Square’s loss of $ 400 million plus on Netflix. After proudly tweeting in January that he had recently bought over 3 million shares in Netflix, Pershing’s founder Bill Ackman said in a letter to investors on Wednesday that he had sold out the position after “losing confidence” in his fund’s ability to predict the future of the company. prospects.

Given that we were all still crazy about watching Bridgerton’s second act, even without a shirtless Regé-Jean Page, it’s actually gloomy.

Write to Laura Forman at laura.forman@wsj.com

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Appeared in the print edition on April 23, 2022 as ‘OVERHEAD’.

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