Once, long ago, TV addicts dreamed of a place where, instead of having a box to tell them which shows they got to watch and when, they could tell a slightly smaller box what they wanted to watch whenever they wanted in whatever order. This utopia became real, and we called it "Netflix." It was a bountiful land where you could binge on shows as varied as all the old episodes of Friends and all the old episodes of How I Met Your Mother. But this Garden of Eden was not to last. Now, entertainment giants like Disney, NBC, and apparently Warner Bros. want in on this grand media innovation, guiding their own exclusive streaming content into (to borrow another aquatic term, because this is all so new) separate "channels." What a brave new world we live in.
Because having your own failing streaming service is all the rage among clueless CEOs, Warner has now thrown its hat into the already-balding streaming game. Its still-unnamed but indubitably silly-sounding platform will be launching in late 2019. Now, you might ask yourself: "What exactly does Warner Bros. own that's worth ten bucks a month, again?" Well, there are all those classic old movies of theirs ... which will all be available on the separate Criterion Channel streaming service. Oh, there are all the cool HBO shows ... which will remain on their own streaming site, HBO Go. Maybe they'll have Buffy?
Disregarding that, WB is confident they still have so much to offer that they're splitting their upcoming streaming service into three tiers: the "entry-level movie-focused package" (all the old junk that isn't selling DVDs anymore), "a premium service with original programming and blockbuster movies" (or as its customers will call it: the DC Extended Universe package), and an all-in third tier where you pay extra to see those companion webisodes companies gave up on in the late 2000s. Boy, that really doesn't like it'll be enough to compete with the slowly emerging Disney+ streaming behemoth, so why not throw in some more tiers? Here are a few suggestions:
But the mission here is not just to offer a measly platter of exclusive content; it's also to starve out the competition. With the big entertainment companies choosing to go direct-to-consumer (or, realistically, those consumers' parents), Warner CEO John Stankey warned that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video can expect their content to get "a lot thinner." So look forward to a future wherein we once again watch TV and movies like it's 2005, only it'll be ten times more expensive and have buffering issues.
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Netflix is better than Hollywood. But barely.
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