Warner Bros. said it plans to cash in on the current success of the superhero genre with a “DC-branded direct-to-consumer digital service in 2018.”
“Operated by Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group, the new digital service will deliver an immersive experience designed just for DC fans,” the company said in a release.
Warner Bros. didn’t provide any further details on the planned service, but the offering is likely to include streaming movies and TV shows featuring DC superheroes. Indeed, Warner Bros.’ announcement of the forthcoming service coincided with the company’s notice that it will start production on a new, live-action drama series “Titans,” which will debut in 2018. “Additionally, Warner Bros. Animation’s ‘Young Justice: Outsiders,’ the highly anticipated third season of the popular ‘Young Justice’ series, is also ramping up for its first mission next year,” the company said.
Interestingly, Deadline reported that Warner Bros.’ live-action “Titans” show received strong interest from an unnamed SVOD provider, but Warner Bros. opted to make the show a cornerstone of its planned DC digital service.
To be clear, “Titans” and “Young Justice” are just two of the many superhero characters housed under Warner Bros.’ DC brand. Other big-name characters include Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and it’s likely to assume that content related to those characters will make its way into the DC-branded direct-to-consumer digital service the company plans to launch next year.
Importantly, the launch of the DC digital service also roughly corresponds to the launch of “Justice League,” Warner Bros.' big-budget superhero movie featuring DC characters ranging from Superman to Cyborg and The Flash that is scheduled to hit theaters in November.
Further, it’s worth noting that Warner Bros.’ DC brand remains in a fierce battle with Disney’s Marvel, which continues to reap revenues from characters ranging from Captain America to Guardians of the Galaxy.
Warner Bros.’ announcement of its planned DC service comes just weeks after the company and Turner launched their Boomberang SVOD service. The advertising-free Boomerang is now the only place for users to see new episodes of “Scooby-Doo,” “Looney Tunes” and “Tom & Jerry,” Variety reported.
Warner Bros.’ moves are part of a broad initiative by parent Time Warner Inc. to control its own digital distribution fate rather than sell content to distributors like Netflix.