CNN shutting down its NFT offering

CNN has announced it’s shutting down its NFT offering, Vault, amid a broader pullback of crypto and token sales across many industries. 

Originally launched in the summer of 2021, Vault by CNN will be closing down, according to announcements sent to users and posted atop its website.

CNN has not specified a timeframe for the shutdown and as of the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, the site remains quasi-active.

Originally billed as a “six-week” experiment, Vault ventured into the area of non-fungible tokens to offer visual representations it called “moments” of key clips from the network’s broadcast history, ranging from its launch and coverage of historical events.

It even tried selling NFTs of the launch of its doomed CNN+ streaming service.

In the interest of full disclosure, the author of this article purchased two NFTs from Vault.

When CNN launched Vault, NFTs were surging in popularity, with artists, creators and other content generators giving the public the opportunity to own one or more copy of specific digital assets that were backed and verified by a blockchain.

CNN’s prices varied widely, with some soaring into the hundreds of dollars, while others could be had for $20 or less. 

Buying an NFT didn’t grant the purchaser the rights to use the video in their own productions, for example, but rather gave them the exclusive rights to a specific digital file depicting that moment. CNN also sold physical plaque-style pieces meant to be a physical representation of a digital item.

Initial batches of some key moments in the network’s history sold out, but sales appeared to start stagnating. 

CNN doesn’t break down financials to the level that would allow anyone to tell if Vault ever was financially viable.

Many users who bought in early have taken to social media, accusing CNN of trying to capitalize on a hot trend only to turn around and shut it down.

There are reports CNN will be refunding owners of NFTs about 25% of the purchase price, though details are still in the works and, assuming that figure holds up, is comparatively small compared to what was paid when the NFT was minted. It also indirectly means the network has to admit, at least on some level, that its NFT offerings didn’t exactly hold their value.

Some NFTs, such as ones from famous artists, can skyrocket in value and ultimately be resold for a profit, but it seems unlikely any of CNN’s will see that happen.

Overall, it’s unlikely Vault ever generated significant revenue for the network compared to other income streams and ultimately may have harmed by a global cool-down on buying NFTs. 

This isn’t the first time CNN has had to issue refunds to customers of a failed digital dabbling this year.

Earlier this year, the network announced it would refund anyone who paid to subscribe to CNN+, its streaming service that lasted less than a month

Advertisement

CNN invested hundreds of millions in the network and its marketing and then had to give back the likely little revenue it generated (plus, depending on its agreements with credit card companies, take a hit of transaction fees that typically still have to be paid by the seller when refunds are issued).

For Vault, CNN appears to have partnered with at least two different SaaS companies to power the web-based interface and wallet components of its NFT site.

Sign up for NewscastStudio's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest broadcast industry news to your inbox including new debuts, case studies, thought leadership and broadcast gear updates.