CNN is preparing to launch a digital news service that will compete with similar offerings from Apple and Facebook, a report revealed.

Speaking with The Information, CNN digital chief Andrew Morse said the company is preparing an aggregate news service that will compete with Apple's and Facebook's offerings. The service, which is internally referred to as “NewsCo,” will likely feature a combination of subscription-based and ads-based content.

CNN's new service will go against big tech companies that have gained control over the news being aired or spread through their platforms. It has commissioned about a dozen of its engineers, product and business executives to work on the project, and has hired several more people to work on it.

Furthermore, CNN also hired Andrew Greene, a former Spotify engineer, to oversee technology used for the new project. Greene has had experience overseeing Spotify's radio channels-like offering dubbed Spotify Stations.

Not the first

CNN isn't the first company to try its hand at launching a news service. Amazon recently launched a news aggregate app on its Fire TV and Fire tablets. Apple has Apple News+, and Facebook has its own Facebook Newsroom.

Snapchat owner Snap Inc., on the other hand, is also working towards launching a news service on its app. It is currently discussing the venture with media companies.

Despite efforts from these companies, former CBS News executive Andrew Heyward said most people are more likely to use Facebook's offering because it is but one of the many features the social media app has. “People have integrated the platforms into the rest of their digital lives, and news is just one of many features they consume there,” Heyward said.

Nevertheless, Heyward believes that CNN's offering might prove to be a real “contender” due to its resources and and “breadth of content.”


Apparently, CNN's NewsCo will be very different from other news aggregate services. Morse said it won't have a political bent. Nitya Chambers, CNN Digital’s vice president of content development, added that NewsCo will present content exclusive to the platform. It is also designed to help news organizations who are losing viewers and revenues to other platforms, Morse added.

“ In the same way that entertainment companies don’t want to cede ground to the streaming platforms, why should we cede the ground of journalism to the technology platforms,” Morse said.

The CNN logo adorns the top of CNN's offices in Hollywood. David McNew/Newsmakers