Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Warner announces new three-tiered streaming service, because online media wasn't complicated enough

Illustration for article titled Warner announces new three-tiered streaming service, because online media wasnt complicated enoughem/em
Photo: Amy T. Zielinski (Getty Images)

One of these days, the human race is going to come together, track down Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, and violently start shaking him while screaming “What the fuck did you do, man?” It’s become a recurring joke over the last year or so that you’re nobody in the world of content delivery—what we used to call “makin’ the teevee”— if you don’t have your own branded, expensive, and exclusive streaming service, serving the dedicated niche of fans who are truly invested in the fates of whatever the fuck CBS or D.C. Universe have found to dump onto the online garbage heap this year in between the handful of shows we actually want to watch. For every dead Seeso, after all, there’s a Disney+ just waiting to swoop in and make its new demands on your attention, bandwidth, and password retention skills, so why wouldn’t WarnerMedia wander into the fray with its own, even more complicated spin on the new internet reality, huh?


Per Variety, the media giant—which was horfed up by AT&T in a merger earlier this year—released some early details this week on its new streaming service, which is expected to launch in late 2019. The current plan is apparently for a “three-tier” experience for users, with the cheapest level focused primarily on the company’s film library, while more expensive tiers will offer either original programming, or a combination of the two. Reading through the reveals, it’s not clear how much of that library will pull from Warner Bros. Television’s various productions, especially since The CW is owned jointly by Warner/AT&T and CBS. It’s also not clear what tier that the recently announced Criterion Channel—rising from the ashes and cinephile tears of the late, lamented FilmStruck—will be available on, although that one will be available as some sort of standalone package in the spring, too.

Warner has yet to announce a name for the service, but, again, it’s competing in the market with “Disney Plus,” “CBS All Access,” and “HBO Go”—the latter of which is also owned by Warner—so we’re not expecting a whole lot of creativity here. And really, we just want to assure our increasingly fractured media overlords that we can’t wait to try to remember which one interesting show is airing on “AT&T/Time Warner Media Properties Compendium,” or “The Warner Zone,” or whatever the hell it ends up being called.

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