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CNN Plus: Everything you need to know about the news leader's streaming service

CNN Plus logo
(Image credit: CNN)

Yes, folks, there is still room on Planet Earth for yet another dedicated paid streaming service. And one of the latest is coming to us from CNN, a decades-long global leader in the news business.

CNN Plus isn't going to replace CNN and its various permutations. It's going to live alongside it. It's going to go deeper than the traditional TV shows might, the company says, and also intro the world to new shows and new personalities. 

So far? It's all talk. There's a lot more left to learn, and months ahead of launch for CNN to feed us more information.

Here's what we know so far about the upcoming CNN Plus streaming service:

What is CNN Plus?

To oversimplify things, CNN Plus is being billed as a "global news, information and lifestyle subscription service." In other words, that sounds like a whole lot of what the broader CNN world does today. The same headline on the press release goes on to say that it's a "new experience for CNN superfans, news junkies and fans of quality nonfiction."

CNN went on in its initial press release to basically reiterate that gist a few times. It's not necessarily a repackaged version of what you already can find on CNN, but definitely still in the same vein. From the press release: "CNN+ will feature original, live, on demand and interactive programming as a standalone direct-to-consumer service with offerings that are separate and distinct from CNN, CNN International, HLN and CNN en Español linear TV channels."

You'll also find a number of shows that you're almost certainly already familiar with, including Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Stanley Tucci: Searching for ItalyThis is Life with Lisa Ling, and United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell.

New original series and films, developed specifically for CNN+, will be announced later in 2021.

So far, all we have is a website — cnnplus.com, which resolves to plus.cnn.com.

Whether that has the makings of a must-subscribe streaming service — or whether it's just a sort of add-on that might be available for a few bucks a month — remains to be seen.

When will CNN Plus premiere?

We don't yet know exactly when to expect CNN Plus. The only sort of window we have right now is that CNN Plus will launch sometime in the first quarter of 2022. That means anytime between the beginning of January and the end of March.

CNN+ could launch at the beginning of the quarter. Or it could launch at the end of the quarter. Or it could launch anytime in between. There's really no way of knowing until someone announces it.

How much does CNN Plus cost?

We don't yet know how much a subscription to CNN Plus will cost.

It's conceivable that CNN Plus could be just a few dollars a month, a la ESPN+. That would make sense because we're talking about a lot of catalog content bolstered by new shows and features, both of which will live within the existing CNN app.

Or we also could make the argument for CNN+ to be more expensive, like Disney+ or Netflix. 

We also don't yet know if there will be an annual discount if you pay for 12 months at a time, or if we're only going to have the option to pay the CNN+ price month by month.

So stay tuned for more information on the CNN Plus price.

Where is CNN Plus available?

This is another one we don't have a complete answer for. CNN+ will be available in the United States, of course. That's obvious.

But CNN is a global leader in news, and has been for decades. That means it'd be pretty safe to assume that you'll be able to get CNN+ in any number of other countries. We'd venture a guess that it'll be available in other English-speaking countries, like Canada and the UK — though perhaps not right at launch.

The simple fact of the matter is that when it comes to streaming rights for content — news or otherwise — it gets pretty complicated and there are lots of lawyers involved. 

In other words, stay tuned for that one, too.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.