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The Morning After: CNN+ is shutting down

CNN+, the streaming service launched by the Cable News Network just three weeks ago, is shutting down on April 30th. The closure comes after reports that the high-profile project had reached just 10,000 daily users. It didn’t help that WarnerMedia is merging with Discovery with the explicit aim of consolidating their streaming services into one cohesive whole.

The service, which reportedly cost around $100 million to launch, will have survived for just 32 days, stealing Quibi’s title for most notorious and swift closure. CNN said at-risk employees will receive 90 days salary and benefits and get opportunities to move elsewhere within the Warner Bros. Discovery empire.

On one hand, it always seemed like a stretch to ask people to pay Netflix-level prices for even premium cable news. With the exception of blue-chip brands like NYT and WSJ, or the mega billionaire-backed Washington Post, paid-for journalism has been totally undermined. On the other hand, it’s a shame to see something bold and potentially paradigm-shifting “do a Quibi” so quickly.

— Dan Cooper

The biggest stories you might have missed

Amazon will share its logistics power with others, for a price.

Amazon has launched Buy with Prime, a service that enables rival online retailers to leverage Prime’s speedy shipping. It means any e-commerce platform can add a Prime button to its page and make items available for next-or two-day delivery. The program will begin with sellers that already use Amazon’s fulfillment service before rolling out to merchants who have no presence on Amazon whatsoever. This is another neat way Amazon can both fold its competitors under its own umbrella but, given the SEC is investigating how Amazon uses the data it collects about third-party sellers, one that may deserve extra scrutiny.

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The Boring Company also received fresh funding.

Concept image for how Prufrock, TBC's new TBM, will operate.

The Boring Company

What’s Elon been up to over the last 24 hours, you ask?

Well, in a fresh SEC filing, the billionaire has said he’s received backing to make his hostile-ish bid for Twitter. That includes $13 billion in debt financing from lenders like Morgan Stanley and a further $12.5 billion in loans leveraged against Musk’s Tesla shareholding. It’s thought the remainder of the cash will come from Musk himself, although we wouldn’t bet that even someone who loves posting as much as ol’ Elon would spend north of $21 billion to do so.

The Boring Company, meanwhile, has raised fresh funding to the tune of $675 million, valuing the company at $5.7 billion. That cash will go toward hiring more engineers who can build more of the company’s signature taxis-in-a-tunnel Loop projects. At the same time, the company said its second-generation tunnel boring machine can carve out up to a mile of tunnel a week. It also made the unbelievable claim that its third-generation hardware will be able to crunch up to seven miles of bedrock per day.

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Was it that much of a surprise given the video was titled I Crashed My Plane.

Image taken from the video 'I Crashed My Plane.'

Trevor Jacob / YouTube

Trevor Jacob is a former Olympic snowboarder-turned-YouTuber who, in December 2021, published a well-shot video titled I Crashed My Plane. The beautifully shot clip, with multiple cameras set up on the pilot side wing and tail, sees the plane apparently stall out in mid air. Jacob then climbs out of the cabin and parachutes to the ground. Unfortunately for him, the FAA accused Jacob of intentionally crashing the plane for online clout and revoked his pilot’s license. If Jacob doesn’t hand it back to officials, he’ll be liable for a daily fine of up to $1,644.

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Whoops.

The FAA was also in the news yesterday for accidentally causing an emergency evacuation of Congress. FAA officials reportedly failed to notify the Capitol police and security services about a planned parachute demonstration by the US Army Golden Knights over Nationals Stadium. Nobody was hurt, and the Golden Knights followed proper procedure, avoiding restricted airspace and communicating with air traffic control at all times. But that didn’t stop House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from saying the FAA’s failure to communicate was “outrageous and inexcusable.”

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