In 2021, I was recruited to join CNN+, CNN's first direct-to-consumer streaming service. We set out to redefine how people consumed the news in what was widely considered to be the most important development at CNN since Ted Turner.
The Challenge: Build a world-class streaming platform targeted at CNN superfans, digital news consumers, and non-fiction SVOD viewers. More importantly, we needed to convince cable TV subscribers, who already had CNN, to join CNN+ without cannibalizing linear viewership.
The Solution: CNN+ established a model that differentiated itself from CNN in multiple innovative ways. Based on three brand pillars—Live, On Demand, and Interactive—CNN+ would offer the same quality live news as CNN, but we also offered thousands of programs viewers could watch on demand, as well as a cutting-edge interactive component called The Interview Club, which allowed viewers to ask direct questions to their favorite anchors, celebrities, and industry leaders and watch their inquiries get answered live on the streaming service.
How I Executed: My role at CNN+ was multi-fold. When I first started, the Programming team was in the process of building a robust library of original and acquired titles, but had no plans or resources for marketing the content. That's where I stepped in. During my tenure, I introduced the "source of truth" marketing brief for program marketing, developed a tiering system to standardize marketing support, and built the integrated marketing team from the ground up. With a solid program and integrated marketing process in place, I led the development of 360 campaigns for the whole year's worth of tentpole titles, coordinating with paid media, organic social, email marketing, PR, product, and more.
The Results: Though new leadership shut down CNN+ shortly after the Warner Bros. and Discovery merger, we were well on our way to reaching our subscriber goals for the year, surpassing 150,000 paid subscribers in just two weeks. The campaigns we did have in market have seen tangible impact—most recently with Navalny taking home the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature Film. Navalny was just one of dozens of 360 campaigns we had developed, ready to be deployed. One can only imagine what we could have achieved if the product stayed in market longer, but if our short stint was any indication, we would have achieved greatness.
Some examples of CNN+ programming below.