Closing CNN+ Was Really Dumb. And Netflix Isn’t Jeopardized

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CNN spent $300M-$500M and 2 years creating CNN+. Only to have new owners Discovery Network shut down the project 2 weeks after launch. Smart to save money? Not hardly. This podcast explains why in a market moving as fast as streaming entertainment killing a White Space project is really, really dumb. Discovery leadership has decided it doesn’t need to learn anything, nor innovate. They already know all the answers about streaming, even if the market is new and their previous efforts have not been successful. They’ve not only shut down an innovation engine, they’ve killed all employee incentives to look for innovative ways to grow – creating a culture of passivism and sycophantism. On Sunday Brian Stelter of CNN was clearly fearful to challenge Discovery leadership or even contend CNN+ might have been a good idea worth testing. Nothing about this decision is good, especially the declared goal of being unwilling to invest in future revenues at the expense of short-term profits (no Amazon or Fedex or Facebook courage here!)

Simultaneously, the stock market analysts and journalistic pundits have decided Netflix is now toast. This podcast overviews why results aren’t that bad at Netflix, nor is competition. And anticipated tweaks of the Value Delivery System aren’t the industry “sea change” many forecast. Rather, while competitors are just now catching up to where Netflix was years ago with technology and programming, Netflix is building on its success with new ideas, and developing the big, new opportunity in Gaming revenues that will fulfill its long term Value Proposition. Netflix had the courage to create the media streaming business, and create the largest content studio on the planet – despite lack of faith by investors before. I wouldn’t bet against their courage to do the “next big thing” once again.

Thinking points:

  • Do you invest in revenues to grow your business even though it hurts the P&L?
  • Do you starve, or shut down, innovation projects to save money short term?
  • Do you constantly, intentionally experiment to build out the right Value Delivery System for meeting your Value Proposition?
  • Do you separate tweaking your Value Delivery System for better short term results from investing in your Value Proposition for long-term success?

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