Tucker Carlson on Friday night mocked CNN executives for their optimistic subscriber targets for streaming service CNN+, saying their figures were ‘even less plausible’ than the numbers of those who voted for Joe Biden.
Carlson, whose Fox News network has delighted in their rival’s struggles, was gleeful about the demise of CNN+.
The streaming service began on March 29, and ended on Thursday – less than a month after its launch.
CNN plowed $300 million into the venture, but the new leaders who took over when parent company Warner Media merged with Discovery took a dim view of their efforts.
Carlson on Friday discussed an Axios report stating executives believed they could tap into 29 million ‘CNN super fans’ who would be willing to pay the $5.99 monthly fee for the service.
Tucker Carlson on Friday night mocked CNN+’s viewer targets as implausible
The Fox News host ridiculed the optimistic aims of the streaming service, which only lasted a few weeks before it was axed
Internal estimates suggested two other ‘buckets’ of potential viewers: 24 million ‘news and non-fiction SVOD (subscription video on demand) fans,’ and 36 million ‘global news consumers.’
Carlson mockingly read the figures aloud.
‘So think about those numbers for a second,’ he said.
‘CNN convinced itself it had 29 million super fans.
‘That’s even less plausible than 81 million votes in a presidential election.’
Biden won 81 million votes in November 2020 – the biggest number in U.S. election history. Donald Trump won 74 million – which also exceeded the previous record of 69.4 million, set by Barack Obama in 2008.
Carlson continued: ‘And it turned out to be completely disconnected from reality.
‘In the end, CNN+ got about 10,000 viewers. Why? Because people don’t really wanna pay to watch that crap, to be called bigots or learn about trans-senior citizens.
‘It has nothing to do with their lives. They know for a fact they won’t improve them.’
The new streaming service had been heavily advertised, but only had 150,000 subscribers
Stars of CNN+ including Kasie Hunt (third left), Chris Wallace (next to Hunt) and Anderson Cooper (third right) are seen on March 28 celebrating the launch of the streaming service
Carlson then went on to praise controversial podcast host Joe Rogan, and said that his success – he is the most-listened talk show host on Spotify – was evidence of what people wanted.
Carlson said Rogan was popular ‘because he’s interesting and he’s curious, and he notices the world changing all around him and wants to know what the hell’s going on.’
He also mocked Spotify’s multimillion dollar deal with the Obamas, which the former president and his wife ended last week, unhappy with the limitations Spotify placed on them.
‘The company that employs Joe Rogan, the streaming service Spotify – and you may not have seen this story – had to offload the Obamas to whom they had paid millions and millions of dollars,’ said Carlson.
‘Why? Because nobody wanted to watch the Obamas, either.
‘Because they had nothing to say. Because they’re banal. They’re not interesting in any way.’
Fox News hosts have enjoyed gloating about the demise of CNN+.
CNN’s new CEO Chris Licht – who does not officially take over until May 2 – told staff on April 21 that experiment was ending – despite producers having lured over talent including former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, actress Eva Longoria, and chef Alison Roman.
David Zaslav, the president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, took the helm of the newly-merged media company on April 8.
The service attracted 150,000 subscribers, and was on a pace to hit first-year subscription goals.
CNN+ was unable to show the same news shows as CNN, owing to existing contracts with cable tv providers. But they had encouraged their stars like Anderson Cooper to branch out into a parenting show, and had given Don Lemon a chat show.
Yet CNN’s new parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery – officially formed from a merger on April 8 – was unimpressed by the figures.
At any given time, fewer than 10,000 people were watching the service, two people familiar with the numbers told The New York Times.
Meghan McCain in her DailyMail.com column called CNN+ a ‘predicable disaster’.
‘Why would anyone at CNN believe that the American public would pay extra for content from a brand that is already struggling to bring in audiences?’ she wrote.
‘Nielsen, the service that tracks TV ratings, found that CNN’s total audience in February 2022 declined by nearly 70% from a year earlier.’
Insiders estimated the network spent $300 million launching and between $100 million and $200 million advertising. CNN had been planning to spend more than $1 billion on CNN+ over four years, two people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.
David Zaslav, who since the beginning of this month has led the newly-merged massive media giant, had been expected to bring in changes.
But one veteran staffer told The Washington Post: ‘We expected them to cut off a few fingers, not the entire arm.’