With CNN+ gone, let’s not forget that CNN already has a significant digital asset

Photo (cc) 2009 by Bruno Pinheiro

I know we’ve all moved on to Elon Musk, whose successful bid for Twitter I’m still processing. But I want to make one final point about CNN+, the streaming service that was shut down by CNN’s new owner, Warner Bros. Discovery, just a few weeks after its launch.

CNN already has a significant online asset — CNN Digital. According to Comscore, CNN.com and its apps attracted 143 million unique visitors a month in 2021, putting CNN Digital way ahead of The New York Times (89 million), FoxNews.com and NBCNews.com (about 87 million each) and The Washington Post (82 million). It’s not aimed at cord-cutters, which is a crowd that CNN needs to address at some point. But neither was CNN+.

You can watch CNN TV’s livestream on CNN Digital if you authenticate with your cable subscription. If you don’t have cable, you’re out of luck. But that was true of CNN+, too. No doubt CNN’s contracts with the cable companies forbade them from offering the livestream to CNN+ subscribers, but that meant they were expecting you to pay a monthly fee for CNN’s B-product while reserving the A-product for cable customers.

Like CNN+, CNN Digital offers a lot of extras, including news stories and video clips. It’s really an excellent product, and it’s free. Indeed, with USA Today moving much of its coverage behind a paywall, CNN Digital, along with NPR and the “PBS NewsHour,” is one of the last sources of good-quality free news.