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CNN+ is a news service for a post-cable world

Hello and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your business guide to the gaming and media industries. This Thursday, we take a closer look at CNN+ and what it tells us about CNN’s future. Also: AR and VR for kids, and a guessing game for everyone.

CNN+ does not want to replace CNN. Or does it?

CNN is ready for your streaming dollars: The news network on Tuesday launched CNN+, its first direct-to-consumer service. The new service builds on some of the network’s core strengths, including its library of documentary programming and feature films. It also gives us a first look at what the future of CNN might look like.

CNN+ looks a lot like an on-demand streaming service on the surface. Think Netflix or Disney+, but with Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace instead of “Stranger Things” and “Hawkeye.”

  • CNN+ even borrows some of the streaming lingo from its entertainment siblings, announcing W. Kamau Bell’s CNN show and a serialized documentary about the Murdoch family as a “binge-worthy series.”
  • It launches with a bunch of originals, some of which are live: “5 Things With Kate Bolduan,” a morning press briefing, airs weekdays at 7 a.m. ET. Brian Stelter’s “Reliable Sources Daily” follows a few hours later, and a weekday newscast featuring Wolf Blitzer airs at 7:30 p.m. ET.
  • But catching things live can be a challenge, especially for West Coasters. Episodes can be streamed after they air.
  • It’s more than just an effect of a small but growing lineup of live shows: CNN could have presented its live programming in a linear channel-like experience, with reruns filling the lineup 24/7. 7 and maybe an EPG similar to this. from NBCUniversal’s Peacock service.
  • The service’s design team deliberately decided not to adopt such a channel model, according to CNN CTO Robyn Peterson. “We didn’t want to create what we call a ‘new wheel,'” Peterson told me recently.

Not recreating CNN as a streaming network makes sense for CNN+. There are legal reasons why CNN can’t just sell its existing network as a standalone streaming service; it’s still a key part of the cable package, and operators of pay-TV services wouldn’t be too thrilled if the same service were also available unbundled.

  • Instead, CNN will continue to broadcast its cable network live for authenticated viewers. The stream is built into the CNN+ interface, but it feels more like an add-on than a core component.
  • Example: There are no special incentives for cable subscribers who already have CNN to also get CNN+. “We see CNN+ as a completely additive but complementary service,” Peterson said. “A pay TV subscriber who wants CNN+ [needs] an additional subscription.
  • There is also no CNN+ programming pipeline at CNN. For example, CNN+ will use the CNN brand and its well-known anchors to find high-profile interview partners for its interactive “interview club,” but cable subscribers won’t be able to view those interviews if they don’t have a profile. CNN+ subscription. as well as.
  • “This is all exclusive to CNN+,” said CNN+ senior product manager Kari McMinn.

It just happened: the news industry is changing, forcing networks like CNN to adapt. The cord-cut slowly but surely destroys the wire harness, and the audience has plenty of other choices to inform themselves.

  • From Newsy to ABC News Live, a growing number of free streaming networks provide free live news 24/7. Media outlets like the New York Times are increasingly devoting live blogs to breaking news. And for any news junkie who still isn’t satisfied, there’s always Twitter’s fire hose. There is now less need to tune into CNN for your daily news regimen.
  • Cable news networks have adapted to this with hours and hours of expertise, and Fox News is betting the same thing will work online. On the network’s Fox Nation streaming service, right-wing pundit Dan Bongino receives three hours of live programming a day.

CNN+ relies more on context, the “Interview Club” being one of its most ambitious formats. “It’s a way to really make news a lot more of a learning experience,” Peterson said. If it works, it might just give CNN a signal on how to reinvent itself in a post-cable world.

—Janko Roettgers

AR and VR are coming for the elementary school crowd

Meta may insist that its Quest VR headset is only for ages 13 and up, but that’s not stopping other companies from harnessing AR and VR technology to create products for young kids. This week, two such products are launching, and reviewing each can help us see where kid-focused entertainment is headed.

Space computing start-up Quantum Storey has struck a deal with Hasbro to publish a series of books that double as AR and VR portals. The first is “My Little Pony: Virtual Magic”, which comes with a Google Cardboard-style VR viewer; it offers short AR and VR experiences at the end of each chapter. The book is expected to ship in the coming weeks, and follow-up titles tied to the “Transformers” and “Clue” franchises are already in the works.

Amazon’s Glow projector is now available to everyone. The company first introduced Glow last fall and positioned it as something of an interactive video calling device, but there’s a lot of potential here for using projection mapping to create immersive multimedia experiences. AR type that do not require helmets.

Admittedly, Glow is pricey ($299) and the Quantum Storey books might be a bit of a novelty product. However, there’s no reason why similar technologies can’t be found in all sorts of products, whether smart displays with extended projection surfaces or textbooks that seamlessly combine the analog and digital.

—Janko Roettgers


Today’s employment landscape is challenging for organizations looking to recruit and retain top technology talent. Recent labor trends, many of which are fueling the Great Resignation, have shown leaders across industries that their employees are looking for more.

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In other news

Sony finally unveils its new subscription game offer, but it’s not designed to go hand-in-hand with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. Instead, Sony is playing it safe and biding its time, as there are major questions about market viability that have yet to be answered.

Nreal secured additional funding of $60 million. The AR glasses maker’s latest cash injection comes from Alibaba and brings the total amount raised by Nreal to $200 million.

The independent studio Funomena could close its doors after an investigation. News of the potential shutdown – which will occur if Funomena fails to secure a time investment – ​​dropped less than two weeks after an investigative report by People Make Games exposed abuse and mistreatment of the co-founder and CEO Robin Hunicke.

Nielsen goes private. The media measurement company agreed to a takeover that puts its value at around $16 billion.

Disney Streaming hires Google veteran Jeremy Doig as CTO. Doig worked for Google for 18 years before moving to Disney, where he will oversee all of the company’s streaming technologies.

A predictable delay from Zelda. The sequel to 2017 hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been pushed back to 2023, Nintendo announced on Tuesday. It’s not entirely unexpected; many core Zelda games have suffered delays in the past, and a 2022 release for this entry seemed overambitious.

Spotify is testing a podcast discovery feed with a TikTok-like interface. The world’s largest music service would really like its subscribers to listen to more non-music programs.

Amazon has hired former Hulu product manager Ben Smith as the new vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios products. Smith is returning to streaming after a three-year sabbatical. Goals in life!

Like Wordle, but movies

I know what you’re thinking: aren’t there enough Wordle clones already? Yes, but this one is different. Moviedle plays a one-second clip, fast-forwarding a classic movie. Then you guess and you are probably wrong. Then a two-second clip, and so on. You can only guess one movie per day, and it’s surprisingly difficult! Moviedle is the result of a hackathon, so don’t expect a polished UI. It’s still a lot of fun, if only for the fact that all those late nights of watching TV finally pay off.

—Janko Roettgers


Tech organizations need to look internally to find the talent they seek by upskilling and reskilling their existing tech workforce. To make this vision a reality, organizations need to focus on being creators rather than consumers of talent.

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Thoughts, questions, advice? Send them to [email protected] Have a good day, see you tomorrow.