April 22, 2022
Good morning! After weeks of speculation, CNN+ is officially done just a month after launching. (Even Quibi made it to month six.) The reason? No one wants to pay for a streaming service devoted to CNN. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. I’m Janko Roettgers, and I just bought a smart hose faucet timer (which is useful, when it works).
Yesterday’s announcement that CNN+ was shutting down a mere month after its launch didn’t come as much of a surprise: The damaging leak of the service’s low daily active users number — a highly unusual, cherry-picked data point — two weeks after its launch made it clear that the newly merged corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery simply didn’t want CNN+ around.
Shutting down CNN+ leaves cable without an offramp. CNN+ was an ambitious effort to prepare one of cable TV’s crown jewels for a post-cable future. By killing the service this early, Warner Bros. Discovery is clouding that future for everyone.
CNN is a cable brand in a world that’s cutting the cord. Warner Bros. Discovery wants to double down on what’s working and get rid of costly experiments. But by doing so, it’s ignoring that the world around it is changing.
Moving beyond cable isn’t easy for everyone. The big subscription services want original entertainment programming, something that most cable channels have been lacking by design.
After just four weeks, it’s possible Warner Bros. Discovery cut the cord too early, but incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht wrote in an email breaking the CNN+ news to staffers that the streaming service was just not what people want today. "In a complex streaming market, consumers want simplicity and an all-in service, which provides a better experience and more value than stand-alone offerings," Licht wrote. In other words: Warner Bros. Discovery is all in on HBO Max — and not ready to start figuring out what CNN’s post-cable future will look like.
— Janko Roettgers (twitter)
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The speed at which security has been built up over the last 12 months has been a derivative benefit of what we’ve seen during the pandemic. Privacy, compliance and security are three legs of the same stool. What we’re seeing increasingly is that intersection continuing to happen. RingCentral has invested in all those elements.
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Barack Obama called for Section 230 reform:
Amazon bought GlowRoad, an Indian startup that sells goods at wholesale prices then helps customers resell them on WhatsApp and Facebook, for an undisclosed amount.
a16z created a crypto research lab staffed with research scientists, university professors and students.
Lulu Cheng Meservey and Kerry Carr will join Activision Blizzard’s board, sources told Axios. Meservey is a Substack exec, and Carr comes from Bacardi.
Fahim Siddiqui will oversee tech strategy at Home Depot as CIO, and current CIO Matt Carey is now the EVP of customer experience.
Marta Hall left Velodyne’s board. Marta and David Hall had just sold over two-thirds of their stake in the company.
Meta is investigating Sheryl Sandberg over her attempts to stop a U.K. newspaper from reporting a negative story about Bobby Kotick, who she previously dated.
Elon Musk got the money to buy Twitter. A group of lenders led by Morgan Stanley have committed to providing the $46.5 billion needed to take Twitter private, according to an SEC filing.
HBO had a pretty good quarter. Three million more subscribers joined HBO and HBO Max compared to the previous quarter.
Mark Zuckerberg isn’t allowed into Russia, along with Kamala Harris and several other U.S. officials.
Twitter is leaning on third-party tools to block harmful content through an experiment that will highlight apps like Block Party and Moderate.
SpaceX is one step closer to offering WiFi on planes. It signed a deal with air carrier JSX to provide in-flight WiFi using Starlink satellites.
Spotify is getting into video podcasts. It had played around with it for some time, but it’s now open for creators to use in a few countries.
AI isn’t good for everything, but it can help with an ethical gut check. Internet artists Morris Kolman and Alex Petros created an advice tool to help with that.
Are You The Asshole is an AI-text-generation model trained on posts from the Reddit channel Am I The Asshole?, where strangers vent about arguments and debate who was in the wrong.
But instead of strangers debating whether you were, in fact, the asshole, the AI will tell you whether you are the asshole, aren’t the asshole or if it's a tossup. We asked whether we’re an asshole for not recycling. The response sounded more human than we could’ve imagined:
"YTA. what's wrong with you dude? I get that you don't want to pay for trash pickup, but just because it's free doesn't mean trash is free. If you're not going to use something then put it in the recycle bin and set a reminder on your phone to make sure you actually do it or at least have someone check up on you."
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