CNN starts plugging its streaming service as part of major marketing blitz

CNN is getting ready to spend millions on a multiplatform ad campaign promoting its upcoming streamer.

The campaign for CNN+, first reported by Variety, is slated for a first quarter 2022 launch, is keystoned by a traditional promo style TV spot that began airing Friday, Oct. 15, 2021.

The WarnerMedia owned cable network has bigger plans ahead to get the word out — it’s lined up ad buys in some interesting places. 

CNN will spend some its marketing budget on its broadcast network rivals, other ad supported streaming services, outdoor advertising and print. 

The campaign is being pegged as second only to what it spent to promote the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” series. 

CNN even leveraged its shared corporate ownership of TBS to digitally insert the CNN+ logo behind home plate during one of the MLB postseason games — position that put it in rotation with the likes of Geico, T-Moble, Loan Depot, Google Cloud, Apple Fitness+, Draft Kings and Roman. 

TBS, like most sports broadcasters, can digitally insert ads, which have the appearance of being physical banners, in multiple positions behind home plate thanks to green screens installed there. These ads are often sold as part of a larger sponsorship deal that includes traditional ads or naming rights to pregame, halftime or postgame shows or gameplay elements.

The TV spots, meanwhile, use “Blow Ya Mind” by Little League along with a blend of archival, aircheck and original footage. 

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The news centric nature of the streamer is emphasized with the tagline “Stream all about it” — a nod to the iconic “read all about it” cry of newspaper sellers.

The spot also emphasizes the network’s 1980 launch juxtaposed against the 2022 launch of CNN+.

One screen shot showcases Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an interface that appears to include some kind of live “question” stream alongside. 

CNN’s advertising, at least for now, appears to rely heavily on existing CNN personalities, given that it’s only made a few hires and programming decisions for CNN+ — the biggest being hiring Kasie Hunt away from NBC. 

Though it’s likely more talent and show announcements will be coming soon given the launch timeline, until then the CNN marketing team is left with trying to sell something that’s not all that well defined beyond yet another streamer.

Like most traditional broadcasters, CNN is eager to enter the streaming business as consumer viewing habits evolved away from a linear schedule and traditional living room TVs to on the go viewing that’s more flexible.

It faces stiff competition among both news-focused and general streaming services — and will likely continue to beg the question of how many people will pay for yet another streaming service.

WarnerMedia already runs HBO Max and once its merger with Discovery Inc. goes through, its portfolio will also include Discovery+

CNN+ has already been announced as a paid service — making it only the second major news streaming service to use that business model. Final pricing hasn’t been announced, by CNN has been presenting visitors to its website with some pricing scenarios for research purposes that fall between $1.99 and $9.99 a month. There’s also no word if WarnerMedia (or Warner Bros. Discovery at it’s expected to become known as) might consider bundling it as Disney has done with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

The other paid news streaming service is Fox Nation and offers mostly on demand style programming that features a blend of investigative, lifestyle, reality, history, religion, military and true crime shows, as well as commercial free access to the cable network’s primetime shows such as “Hannity” the next day (Fox’s agreements with linear providers prohibit it from offering live streams of its primary network feed).

Fox Nation is normally priced at $5.99 a month or $64.99 a year but there typically numerous promotions available, including a $99 two year deal.

Meanwhile, other major U.S. news brands all offer free, ad supported streaming services: NBC News Now, CBSN (which will soon rebrand) and ABC News Live, sometimes known as ABCNL. CBS’s offering also includes local versions in major markets.

Though ad supported, many of these services appear to be struggling to fill commercial breaks — with many of them filled with promos for the service itself or other properties in the respective media empire. 

Read more CNN+ news stories.

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