CNN Max, the Max-housed replacement for CNN+ and more directly Max’s CNN Originals hub, may one day roll out a feature that IndieWire readers — more than most — would absolutely hate.
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Last week, as Warner Bros. Discovery streaming chief JB Perrette made the media rounds to tout his newest toy, he spitballed about a potential feature for “alerting Max viewers to breaking news while they are watching something else on the service, whether it be an HBO series, a Turner Classic Movies selection, or an old episode of Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,'” as Variety’s writeup put it.
Woof. Don’t send us into overprotective-father mode for TCM again.
But before you (and we) freak, a source close to Perrette told IndieWire that Max currently doesn’t have the technology to do this. And, should the engineers figure it out (Probably not that hard? They just built Max from scratch), the thinking is it would be used in rare circumstances — say, a major terrorist attack — not in the CNN “breaking news” way, which is the biggest headlines of the day.
There’s also some question of how the viewing experience might be interrupted. Our source said there will be no lower-third headline chyrons, a common cable news tool, overlaid across your film or TV show. The last thing Max needs is another controversy to irks the creative community: remember that credits fiasco?
In any event, a (hopefully) non-invasive news alert is not the only thing CNN Max would like to try out in its beta form, which launches September 27. Other tests in the break-things stage will include what Perrette referred to in the Variety interview as “dynamic tiling,” which he defines as “key art that rotates.” Perrette is envisioning a changing (rather than static) tile image that reflects what his anchors are talking about on live-streamed program.
Neither of those potential features are expected to be ready at launch.
CNN Max, unlike CNN+, will feature a substantial portion of CNN linear’s U.S. and international news feeds to go along with its originals. It will have 24/7 live programming and will not require an additional subscription.
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