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CNN Launching Hub on Max: What Does This Mean for Viewers?

CNN Launching Hub on Max

The Take

  • After tabling CNN+ over a year ago, Warner Bros. Discovery announced it would add a CNN Hub to Max with new originals and live programming.
  • CNN Max Live News will include a 24/7 live news feed and original programming exclusive to Max subscribers.
  • The new streaming offering will not replace cable. CNN remains a cable channel available in most major packages.
  • There is a free streaming channel available on Pluto for CNN, but it does offer the same content and will remain available for free on Pluto.

Warner Bros. Discovery announced it will launch CNN Max for its streaming service, Max, on September 27. The digital news hub will include a 24-hour newsfeed and coverage of breaking news events with exclusive CNN original Originals and new programming for CNN Max.

A Warner Bros. Discovery spokesman told Joe Adalian at Buffering from Vulture that “at least three CNN U.S. tentpoles — Anderson Cooper 360, The Lead With Jake Tapper, and The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer — are set to be simulcast live on Max, a big chunk of the weekday offering of live news will be created specifically for CNN Max.”

CNN ranks as the third most popular news network in a survey and joins the top two networks (ABC and FOX), which already have streaming options. CNN Max joins other channels, including HBO, on the streaming service and continues Max’s branching out into unscripted content like sports.

CNN Max is in beta now and will be testing features before officially launching for all Max subscribers on September 27.

How is CNN Max different from CNN+?

CNN+… remember that? It lasted about as long as Quibi and was quickly dismantled when new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav came into power post-acquisition. Now, Zaslav and company are adding CNN to Max—so what’s the difference?

The big thing is what Warner Bros. Discovery noted in its press release: “CNN Max is a custom schedule of CNN programming just for Max subscribers. CNN Max will include programming from CNN US and CNN International, plus original programs and news coverage created just for Max.”

So you can expect to see familiar faces, but it’s not just a streaming version of CNN. CNN Max will also draw on CNN International and bring many of those programs to the U.S. for the first time.

There will also be a 24/7 live news feed exclusive to Max.

How will CNN Max change cable offerings?

The short answer is it won’t. CNN on cable will remain the same and maintain its current programming. But CNN Max will include exclusive programming for streaming subscribers only, including live weekday updates from CNN anchors.

If you pay for cable, you will receive the standard CNN coverage, which may be what you want. As Adalian noted in Buffering, “CNN Max isn’t a cord-cutter’s dream, but it’s a lot closer than anything else that’s been attempted to date.”

CNN Max won’t be an effective replacement for folks who watch CNN religiously daily—if that’s you, keep cable! For example, CNN Max won’t be able to show the same coverage as CNN, but it can cut to CNN’s feed for breaking news.

So, if you need CNN in your life, keep cable.

What does CNN Max mean for CNN’s FAST channel on Pluto TV?

So far, nothing. The Pluto channel will likely continue as CNN Max is an entirely different offering.

What is CNN’s FAST channel? Well, it’s basically a smattering of short-form clips that fill time. There isn’t an anchor to tie things together, and it feels like the content you’d get from CNN’s website and not the TV channel.

So, if you want actual dedicated CNN content with the hosts you know, CNN Max is the option for you.

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