Apps CNN app screen on Apple TV

Published on November 4th, 2017 | by Brad Gibson


CNN paid plans hint at the end of a lot of free Apple TV content

CNN – which debuted in 2015 on Apple TV with its free CNNgo app – will launch a paid group of content in 2018, marking the news network’s first big step into online, subscription-based content. The announcement is another example of a broadcast industry that is slowly changing its business model to paid access of digital content and recognizing the growth of consumers cord-cutting in favor of viewing through streaming channels.

According to CNN and its CNN Digital division, it will launch a number of news subscription services online and through streaming set-top boxes around mid-2018, including a general news service and more specialized channels built around its CNN Money and CNN Politics brands.

“We’ll be experimenting with a few models next year,” a CNN spokesman told on Friday. “We haven’t yet figured out (subscription) pricing.”

The spokesman confirmed whatever the final subscription product is, it will be available to Apple TV users, just like its CNNgo app that is available today through the Apple TV AppStore.

The announcement is essentially CNN dipping it’s toe into paid digital content, but was also an acknowledgement that it has big plans for expansion. The new initiatives by CNN are aimed at driving the cable network’s digital revenue to $1 billion by 2022, up from about $370 million this year.

“We have to find more subscription products,” network president Jeff Zucker said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “We have to experiment with e-commerce. And I think we have to find ways to monetize mobile traffic.”

Despite CNNs new announced plans, there’s good news for current viewers of CNNgo…The company emphasized the new content strategy will not impact it’s current offering of CNNgo that requires a subscription through a third-party provider or other content it offers for free now.

The cable news network also is looking at introducing international subscription packages of CNNgo. Currently, the app is only available to American cable subscribers.

CNN now joins a growing group of media outlets that have announced subscription-based apps in recent years, moving away from the ad-based model that has seen a substantial decrease in revenue.

About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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