CNN warns of ‘unsettling’ change & imminent cuts to staff, budgets

Chris Licht

CNN staffers have been warned to expect “noticeable change” at the global news network that will impact employees, budgets and projects.

Chris Licht, chairman and CEO at the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned division, told staff via a memo that the group was preparing itself for turbulent times.

“There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook and we must factor that risk into our planning,” he wrote. “All this will mean noticeable change. That, by definition, is unsettling. These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets and projects.”

Licht, whose moves to date include the closure of CNN’s streaming service CNN+, said: “We have already begun working toward CNN’s future, implementing a strategy that puts our journalism first and grows our digital stronghold. There is a lot more to be done.

“Over the next several weeks that work will accelerate. We will be strategic in this process and will minimise the impact on our core newsgathering operation and Digital, both of which have already executed smart changes.”

In a conclusion that won’t provide much comfort to staff who are let go, he said: “I will not allow these changes to affect our position as the world’s leading news source and we will continue to invest in growth areas. When we conclude this process, CNN will still be the largest, most-respected newsgathering organisation in the world.”

The news comes six months since streamer CNN+ was shut down just a month after its launch, following the completion of the Warner Media and Discovery merger.

CNN+ had offered 8-12 hours of live daily programming as well as a deep library of non-fiction. Long-form programming included past seasons of CNN’s original series and films such as Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy, This Is Life With Lisa Ling, and United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell.

Despite the hype, initial public reaction to the streamer was apparently muted. Axios said that the service has only signed up around 150,000 users with CNBC reporting that fewer than 10,000 people were using it on a daily basis.

Most Recent