CNN to cut 100 jobs and switch to paywall for website

Media organisations including CNN have struggled to grow audiences and revenue and are trying new offerings.

CNN - LP lead
CNN will create subscription-ready products that offer news, analysis and context in new formats [File: Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE]

CNN is eliminating approximately 100 jobs and plans to debut its first digital subscriptions before the end of the year as the news network leans into reshaping its business.

In a memo sent to staff on Wednesday, CNN CEO Mark Thompson noted the news organisation was cutting just 100 jobs out of a total workforce of approximately 3,500. He said that open roles were closed wherever possible in order to minimise the total layoffs.

Media organisations, including CNN, have struggled to grow audiences and revenue, and have sought to diversify what they offer to customers.

Thompson said that CNN’s digital strategy must be “ambitious enough to deliver the audiences and the revenue we need to maintain our unique journalistic firepower and succeed as a business”.

The executive said CNN will create subscription-ready products that offer news, analysis and context in new formats. He emphasised that there will be an effort to keep users on’s website longer and find ways to get them to return more often.

While CNN’s digital products have primarily focused on text articles, Thompson said there will be a shift to provide more video content.

“In the future, our digital products need to do a far better job of reflecting CNN’s massive strength in video and anchoring/reporting talent,” Thompson said.

The organisation is also going to develop more “news you can use” for its audience, with lifestyles and features content. Thompson said these products will provide the company with various monetisation opportunities, including sponsorships, new advertising and direct-to-consumer subscriptions.

CNN will also be pushing more into artificial intelligence, Thompson said, and will look at how it can safely use the technology to serve its audience.

Thompson, a former chief executive of the BBC and The New York Times, was named as the head of CNN in August 2023 and took over the role in October. He replaced Chris Licht, who was fired in June of that year. Thompson was credited with helping the Times transition to a digital-first organisation that was more dependent on paid subscribers than the collapsing advertising market that has doomed many newspapers.

In January, Thompson outlined a strategy to his staff that included a “drastic modernisation” of the website.

Source: AP