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Streaming Wars could become free for everyone

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On Thursday, Warner Bros. Discovery announced it would be shutting down its streaming service CNN+ just weeks after its debut.


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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A year ago we would have drained our bank accounts to stream anything. Chess but sexy. Dating prosthetic beasts. Criminal tiger trainer. 80’s alien tarantula upside down. Give it to us at the same time.

Now America seems to have flowed out. Netflix NFLX shares -1.24%

had its worst day in the stock market since 2004 on Wednesday, after the streaming giant said it lost subscribers in the first quarter in over a decade. Things are apparently so bleak that the company, which has been selling itself as an ad-free haven for years, also said it was exploring a lower-priced, ad-supported version of the platform.

It better be cheap. On Thursday Warner Bros. Discovery WBD -4.10%

said it would shut down its streaming service CNN+ just weeks after its debut. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the $5.99 monthly price was considered “unaffordable” by company executives. The Journal reported Warner Bros. poured about $300 million into the streaming project and garnered fewer than 100,000 subscribers.

At least that’s not as much as losing more than $400 million to Pershing Square on Netflix. After Pershing’s founder Bill Ackman proudly tweeted in January that he recently bought over 3 million shares of Netflix stock, he said in a letter to investors Wednesday he sold the position because he had “confidence” in his fund’s ability have lost to predict the company’s future prospects.

Considering we were all still set to see Bridgerton’s second act, even without a shirtless regé Jean Page, that’s grim indeed.

write to Laura Forman at laura.forman@wsj.com

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/streaming-wars-could-become-free-for-all-11650658837?mod=rss_markets_main Streaming Wars could become free for everyone

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