Tag Archives: Discovery

Scoop: CNN+ Looks Doomed

Sara Fischer, author of Axios Media Trends
April 19th, 2022

Warner Bros. Discovery has suspended all external marketing spend for CNN+ and has laid off CNN’s longtime chief financial officer as it weighs what to do with the subscription streaming service moving forward, five sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Inside CNN, executives think the launch has been successful. Discovery executives disagree.

  • CNN+ has roughly 150,000 subscribers so far.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery wants to eventually build one giant service around HBO Max.
  • New leadership has replaced CNN CFO Brad Ferrer with Neil Chugani, Discovery’s current CFO for streaming and international, as part of a broader finance team restructuring.
  • Other high-level positions at WarnerMedia across different business functions are likely to be eliminated to cut costs and streamline leadership in coming weeks.

What to watch: Sources say a plan is being considered to replace Chris Cuomo’s 9:00pm EST primetime slot with a live newscast, instead of personality-driven perspective programming.

Inside CNN

Executives are frustrated that new leadership is moving quickly to dismantle what they see as an eventual lifeline for the cable network.

  • CNN’s original plan was for CNN+ to become profitable in four years by investing $1 billion into the service.
  • A profitable service would’ve diversified CNN’s revenue long-term around a digital asset outside of its website, increasing its valuation and potential, executives believe.
  • CNN+ launched on Roku last week, which should’ve prompted a subscription boost. But with marketing around the service suspended, there are concerns that growth will be short-lived. A point of pride amongst CNN staffers is how smoothly the app’s rollout has been technologically.
  • Executives believe that if the service wasn’t being knee-capped, its growth rate would’ve rivaled other print news outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post — which have 2.9 million and 2.7 million digital subscribers, respectively.

Yes, but: That analogy, some argue, assumes customers would get the same product on CNN+ that they do with CNN’s linear channel, which isn’t the case.

  • Internal data shows that the shows that do well are the ones that mimic live TV programs, like “5 Things with Kate Bolduan” and “Reliable Sources Daily” with Brian Stelter.
Inside Warner Bros. Discovery

Discovery executives are frustrated that the service launched. If CNN held off launching CNN+ until after the merger, it would have been easier to pivot the company’s efforts towards something better aligned with Discovery’s goals.

  • Discovery’s experience launching niche subscriptions services, like GolfTV and its Food Network Kitchen App, has informed its strategy to focus on one scaled general entertainment offering around HBO Max, instead of more niche services that have to compete with big apps for subscriber cash.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery executives see an opportunity to possibly include some CNN+ content on CNN’s app and make that video available for free and supported by ads, according to one source. Other CNN+ programming could live within HBO Max.
  • It sees potential in leveraging the already massive reach of CNN.com and CNN’s main app to drive its digital growth long-term, as opposed to another subscription outside of linear TV.
  • Discovery executives are focused mostly on returning CNN to its journalistic core, a point Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav reiterated in a town hall last week. That includes less of a focus on primetime perspective programming, and more of a focus on hard, breaking news. CNN+ features an array of soft news content, which doesn’t align with Discovery’s broader vision for CNN.

By the numbers: Last year, CNN brought in roughly $1 billion in profit, with a large portion from long-term distribution contracts for its live TV network, according to two sources.

  • Warner Bros. Discovery executives are willing to forgo some of CNN’s short-term profit growth from linear TV advertising to ensure the network focuses on hard news over ratings, according to one source.
  • CNN+ executives were originally hoping to attract 2 million subscribers in the first year and 15-18 million over four years, as Axios has previously reported.
  • Around $300 million has been spent and hundreds of jobs have been created to support the service.

The big picture: Blame bad timing, limited communications and misaligned incentives for how CNN and Discovery got strategically misaligned on such a massive product rollout.

  • Fearing regulatory scrutiny, former WarnerMedia former parent AT&T and Discovery avoided direct communication about CNN’s strategy until the deal officially closed.
  • While Discovery executives felt they made their priorities publicly clear, CNN executives didn’t feel corporate pressure from WarnerMedia to pause the rollout, according to four WarnerMedia sources.
  • Former CNN head Jeff Zucker’s sudden exit in early February didn’t help solve for some of those communications issues.
  • CNN’s new leader, Chris Licht, doesn’t officially begin until May 2nd, but has joined Zaslav on meetings.

A New Species Of Psychedelic Lichen Found To Contain Psilocybin & DMT

Source Collective Evolution
by Alanna Ketler, October 14, 2016

Lichens are of particular interest to biologists because of their symbiotic relationship between algae and fungi. The fungus creates the network that sustains, hydrates, and protects the algae, which in turn generates the sugars necessary to feed it through photosynthesis. While they both exhibit plant-like characteristics, neither are actually plants — they are composite organisms. This makes the psychedelic lichen even more intriguing.

Scientists have been speculating about this particular lichen for some time. Rigorous testing is needed before researchers can claim anything as fact, however, making anecdotal evidence simply insufficient. And so despite reports from a local tribe about its hallucinogenic qualities, researchers could not positively affirm the lichen to be so, although psilocybin is known to be a psychedelic compound.

How Was This Species of Lichen Discovered?

In 1981, enthobotanists Jim Yost and Wade Davis were doing some fieldwork in the dense rainforests of Ecuador when a local tribe, the Waorani, directed them to the lichen. Yost had previously heard about the existence of the hallucinogenic plant, but it was so rare that he never believed he would actually encounter it, despite having searched for it for seven years. In a paper written in 1983 detailing their discovery, the enthobotanists wrote:

In the spring of 1981, whilst we were engaged in ethnobotanical studies in eastern Ecuador, our attention was drawn to a most peculiar use of hallucinogens by the Waorani, a small isolated group of some 600 Indians. … Amongst most Amazonian tribes, hallucinogenic intoxication is considered to be a collective journey into the subconscious and, as such, is a quintessentially social event.The Waorani, however, consider the use of hallucinogens to be an aggressive anti-social act; so the shaman, or ido, who desires to project a curse takes the drug alone or accompanied only by his wife at night in the secrecy of the forest or in an isolated house.

The lichen was so elusive that even the Waorani people did not possess it. Referring to it as nɇnɇndapɇ, they told the botanists that, while their shamans had once used it, they had not done so in “four generations — approximately eighty years – when ‘bad shaman ate it to send a curse to cause other Waorani to die.’ 

The lichen’s rarity and importance to the tribe encouraged the two to intensify their search efforts, and, almost miraculously, they were soon successful, making them the first Westerners to see the elusive nɇnɇndapɇ. They then proceeded to preserve the unusually unique specimen for future analysis.

What Did the Research Reveal?

Three decades later, the DNA of the lichen was finally analyzed, proving that it was indeed a new species. In 2014, a team of researchers led by Michaela Schmull studied the lichen — also now known as Dictyonema huaorani — and used a technique called liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to determine which chemical compounds existed in its tissues. The tests were positive to the presence of psilocybin, tryptamine, 5-meO-DMT, 5-MeOP (5-methoxytryptamine), 5-MEO-NMT and 5-MT.

This composition of chemicals makes this lichen a very interesting and unique specimen indeed. It is the only known species to exist with this specific grouping of substances. Researchers concluded that:

“Due to our inability to use pure reference compounds and scarce amount of sample for compound identification, however, our analyses were not able to determine conclusively the presence of hallucinogenic substances.”

Perhaps in the future when more resources are allocated to the research and funding of such psychedelic substances, we will be able to learn more about their potential health benefits. More and more research is revealing the healing properties of psychedelic substances including marijuana, psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, and LSD. Yet because these substances are generally considered class 1 scheduled drugs (having no therapeutic value), studying them properly is difficult — even though they have shown promising results for treating cancer, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, anxiety, and more. To learn more about the healing powers of psychedelics, please see the links below.

‘Magic Mushrooms’ Erase Deep Depression in First Human Clinical Trial

This Is What an MDMA Assisted Therapy Session Looks Like

The U.S. Finally Admits Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells

The Truth About LSD: Research Reveals Many Therapeutic & Medicinal Benefits

Much Love