Posted May 25, 2007 4:24 pm by with 4 comments

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CNN has long held out with its paid video subscription model, especially for its streaming “Pipeline,” started in 2005 and priced at $25/year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

There are several reasons to give up charging. For one, it is has become much cheaper to deliver video, Martin said. “Today, bandwidth is much less expensive than when CNN Pipeline launched, and online news consumers are streaming broadband video at a much greater rate.”

Moreover, it appears CNN was unable to overcome the popular notion that, like butterflies, clicks are free. Figuring the Net-consumer might simply prefer smaller bites, CNN added variations on the pricing, offering monthly access for $2.95 and even a 99-cent day pass.

They also offered free news on “big news days,” such as the 5th anniversary of September 11th—which, incidentally, was their highest traffic day ever, with 1.2 million viewers. Pipeline carried no ads, but it did carry multiple streams of news.

After this month, Pipeline will be free. It will be folded into other services starting in July. Some subscribers will be refunded.

I think the biggest reason CNN changed their mind is because they’ve long been mulling over our posts “Give Away the Milk: People Still Buy the Cow” and “Give Away the Milk: Slap Ads on the Cow,” trying to decide which would be better for them.

I know the free content web economy will eat this up, but is it a good move for CNN? How can they best leverage their newly-free video content?

  • Jacqueline Cloud

    I would like to believe that CNN decided to allow free streaming NEWS to a much need uninformed public barraged with Anna Nicole, Paris Hilton, Funerals, and so much non-NEWS they felt a duty to educate us with critally important info to allow us to avoid making catastrophic mistakes with global consequences. So..I was wrong. Its about money? Our true religion and christian roots. I yearn for an independent media source to deliver the public truth not pander. Cnn, msnbc, (forget faux) are going down on that day even with their free stream of info. It still isnt free of pandering to their big corporate sponsors and of course political contributions!

  • Will they also be allowing sharing?

  • Finally!

    That was always one of my biggest peeves with Just throw a 10 second ad on the front, make some money off it and show it to me for free. You could even but a bottom bar with a constant ad and I wouldn’t care, they’d probably make a lot more money that way.

    Good for them for finally changing their tune.


  • Jim

    If the competition is giving away the content and getting ad revenue from it, why did CNN wait so long to change? Most consumers are getting nickel and dimed to death with multimedia providers such as cable satellite and video rentals. Why pay CNN twice (or any other outlet). If CNN wants cash, they had better put the content (with ads) out there.