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TV streaming service CNN+ has launched

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Another TV streaming service launched yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "5 THINGS")

KATE BOLDUAN: Good morning, and welcome to CNN+. It is March 29, 2022, a historic day for CNN, as you are watching the first live broadcast on our brand new streaming service.

MARTINEZ: In addition to long-time CNN anchors such as the one you just heard there, Kate Bolduan, the new service features other names you might recognize - Kasie Hunt, who used to report for NBC, Chris Wallace from Fox News and our former NPR colleague, Audie Cornish. So what does this mean for the future of cable news? NPR's Eric Deggans is here to tell us all about it. Eric, let's start with how it all works out. Where could one find CNN+?

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Well, it's a streaming service, just like Disney+ or Netflix, and the interface even looks a lot like Netflix. So if you're on a desktop computer, for example, you could go to their website, cnn.com, and click through to CNN+. And if you're on something like an iPhone or an iPad, you could download the CNN app, which also allows you to access CNN+. It costs about six bucks a month or about $60 a year. But if you sign up within the first four weeks, you get the service at 50% off the standard rate for the life of your subscription, even if the base price goes up in the future.

MARTINEZ: So what do I get on CNN+ if I already have CNN?

DEGGANS: I guess the big-picture answer to that is that you get on-demand programming. Subscribers have access to a wide library of shows, including original programs that are exclusively for CNN+, which will air live and then are available later on demand. Now, we heard a clip earlier in this segment from a show hosted by Kate Bolduan called "5 Things" that tells you five things you need to know from the news each morning. Our former colleague, Audie Cornish, has a show called "20 Questions" that will debut in May. And there's also a daily version of their media analysis show, "Reliable Sources," that's also hosted by anchor Brian Stelter. Now, on Tuesday, he talked a little bit about how media is changing, and it sounded like maybe he was unintentionally also making the case for CNN+.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "RELIABLE SOURCES")

BRIAN STELTER: Right now, we're in the media - middle of a media revolution. The ways that people get news and entertainment are constantly changing - in print, in streaming, on TV and on our phones. What we choose to consume and how we choose to consume it has big consequences, and that's what this show is about.

MARTINEZ: Any sense, Eric, of which CNN+ shows might be the most successful?

DEGGANS: Well, I think there's still a feel that CNN+ right now is this big framework they've built out that still needs to be filled with more original programming. Former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has a high-profile interview show at 6 p.m. I was struck by a show called "The Interview Club," where subscribers can submit questions in advance that will be read by the hosts to guests. But right now, the biggest appeal of CNN+ might be its library, which has documentary films like "RBG" and "Blackfish" and CNN docuseries featuring W. Kamau Bell and the late, great Anthony Bourdain. These library shows can draw viewers while the original shows find their footing.

MARTINEZ: Eric, what does this all tell you about how cable news will work in the future?

DEGGANS: Well, it seems that every cable and broadcast TV news outlet seems to realize that they need an aggressive and extensive streaming strategy. Fox News has a subscription service called Fox Nation. NBC, ABC and CBS each have free digital news networks. NBC is - MSNBC is developing shows in the digital space for its anchors, including on the streaming service Peacock. The big question we won't know for a while is whether these platforms will generate the subscribers, viewership and revenue to support all the personnel and infrastructure they need to create these shows in the first place.

MARTINEZ: NPR's Eric Deggans. Thanks a lot, Eric.

DEGGANS: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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