CNN launching original content on its CNNgo platform

Turner
CNNgo, which functioned as a TV Everywhere companion app for the CNN channel, is shifting its content strategy. Image: Turner Networks

CNN is revamping its TV Everywhere app CNNgo starting on March 12 with a new platform-exclusive original series, “Mostly Human.”

According to Variety, the six-part, half-hour news series exploring people and technology is the first of a new slate of originals for the service aimed at increasing viewing and providing CNN with a new ad sales outlet.

Andrew Morse, executive VP of editorial for CNN U.S. and GM of CNN Digital Worldwide, told the publication that “Mostly Human” could have been sold to a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu and that it could still end up airing on CNN’s linear TV channel.

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The new original content strategy represents a shift in strategy for CNNgo, which previously functioned primarily as a TV Everywhere companion app for the CNN channel.

While the Variety report details CNNgo’s new original content strategy, it does not mention whether CNNgo could eventually be offered direct-to-consumer to allow non-cable subscribers to pay for access. CNNgo, which is available online, on Android and iOS devices, and on streaming platforms like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, requires a pay-TV account for authentication.

But the original content strategy does hint at CNN potentially making good on its ambitions to offer direct-to-consumer services.

Last year, Turner Networks CEO John Martin said direct-to-consumer launches of major Turner networks like CNN and TNT are crucial to the company’s future, but added that Turner still didn’t have a timeline for when that sort of service might launch.

"I believe it’s imperative that we put the company on a course, to be in a position, to offer an end-to-end solution, direct to consumer,” Martin said to Recode

But Martin seemed to reluctant to disrupt the lucrative relationships networks like CNN have with top pay-TV providers, which pay handsomely for the right to distribute Turner content.

“We’re reinventing our company from the inside out,” he said. “And we’re remodeling it when the plane is up in the air. We have to go from being a wholesale, linear cable TV company to being a consumer-focused, consumer-centric company."