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CNN Overhauls News-Gathering Operation, Will Cut 100 Positions

CNN studios ahead of the first presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Wednesday, June 26, 2024. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will face off Thursday for their first 2024 debate, a high-stakes opportunity to break through to politics-weary Americans and one that holds the potential for disastrous missteps. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- CNN is overhauling its operations, eliminating about 100 positions as part of a plan to merge its digital and traditional pay-TV news-gathering teams.

As part of the effort, CNN will launch a new subscription product before the end of the year, as well as two new free ad-supported online channels called CNN Originals and CNN en Espanol, Mark Thompson, chief executive officer of the network, said in a memo Wednesday.

The lines between traditional TV and online viewing are blurring, and CNN is shifting its focus toward streaming. Thompson, 66, joined the news division of Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. last year from the New York Times Co., where he significantly expanded the newspaper’s online subscriber base. 

“We are building a billion dollar+ digital business of the future,” Thompson said in the memo. “We will develop new digital products with a special focus on digital experiences worth paying for.”

CNN’s plans include a “strategic push” into artificial intelligence to better serve its audience and deliver journalism more effectively and responsibly, according to the memo. The network also aims to create more “news you can use” with ad-sponsored lifestyle and features.

CNN employs a workforce of about 3,500, the memo said, indicating the cuts amount to less than 3% of staff.

CNN’s primetime audience trails cable-news rivals Fox News and MSNBC in the season that started in September. The network hosted the presidential debate last month, attracting 8.7 million viewers on its flagship channel. When the network’s other outlets are included, the total was 11.4 million.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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