Max, the streaming service previously known as HBO Max, announced this morning it's adding 24/7 livestreaming news with the addition of "CNN Max," starting September 27 in the U.S. The feature, which will launch in beta, will offer Max viewers live content from CNN US, CNN International and other original programming. The service will also stream 24/7 and will "enable experimentation" with product features, content and originals, the company says.
The addition will include programming designed for the Max audience, including “CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta, Rahel Solomon, Amara Walker and Fredricka Whitfield,” and “CNN Newsroom with Jim Sciutto.” Sciutto will also lead breaking news coverage on the platform in the afternoons.
Other well-known anchors and programs will also appear, such as “Amanpour,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and more.
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The currently branded CNN Originals hub on Max will be rebranded CNN Max with this launch. Here, Max subscribers can watch live news, originals and more than 900 episodes of current and legacy content. The latter includes “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?,” “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper,” “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (Seasons 1-12), “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” (Seasons 1-2) and the CNN Films’ and Max Original “NAVALNY.”
Users will also be able to access this content from the top navigation bar under a new "News Beta" tab.
The launch follows last year's shutdown of CNN+, a standalone streaming news service that had struggled to attract viewers. Embarrassingly, the service announced it was shutting down at the end of April 2022 -- only a month after its arrival. At the time, the company said it believed customers would be better served by a "simpler streaming choice" -- a suggestion that the CNN brand would be better leveraged within a broader streaming solution.
Max would not be the first to go this route, as combining news into a larger entertainment-focused streaming offering is not a unique idea. Paramount+ livestreams news from CBSN and local stations. Even free destinations like The Roku Channel have added news to round out their offerings.
While CNN+ was launched under the direction of ex-WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who has since left the company, the new Warner Bros. Discovery is now led by David Zaslav -- a controversial figure, who some question if he has what it takes to make the Max brand successful. Zaslav put his stamp on the streaming service by rebranding Max and dropping the better-known "HBO" from the brand.
During its most recent earnings, Warner Bros. Discovery said it lost 1.8 million subscribers amid the rebrand -- some, in part, because of people with overlapping accounts (Max and Discovery+) who were getting rid of extra subscriptions.
“As we laid out at our launch only a few months ago, our vision for Max is to be The One to Watch for all members of a household. We have the broadest and highest quality entertainment offering, and now will include world-leading news as a meaningful addition for all Max subscribers, at no extra charge," said JB Perrette, CEO and president, Global Streaming and Games, in a statement this morning. "CNN Max is differentiated by having 24/7 news at its core from CNN, the leading global news organization, and being available on a scaled streaming service in the U.S., which has a significantly younger and additive audience compared to traditional TV," he added.