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WB’s Web splash

Entertaindom bows, offering film,TV and music

After much hype and delays, Warner Bros. Online is finally bowing Entertaindom today, one of several new Time Warner Internet hubs that is expected to offer original movie, television and music content from across the media giant’s branches, as well as eventual programming from other studios and networks, as well.

In what marks a studio’s biggest splash on the Web to date, Entertaindom is initially launching with a slate of 10 video and animated shows — ranging from 1 minute to 20 minutes in length — through separate channels that include short films from Netcaster AtomFilms; Looney Tunes cartoons, including new Marvin the Martian shorts produced by Warner Bros. Animation; and a weekly 3D-animated Superman series from Brilliant Digital Entertainment that allows viewers to determine the plot.

‘God and Devil’ emerges

Of its shows, Warner Bros. Online is especially touting the “God and Devil Show,” a Flash-animated talk show featuring caricatures of God and the Devil. An animated Keith Richards is the show’s first celebrity guest. At the end of each episode, viewers can vote to send guests to heaven or hell.

Other shows or channels include:

“Entertaindom Jukebox,” with the latest musicvids from up-and-coming and popular artists from record labels Elektra, Atlantic, Warner Bros. Records and Maverick; “Funnies,” featuring classic and new comic strips ranging from Peanuts to Doonesbury; “Hip Clips,” a collection of vid clips from Time Warner’s entertainment library and vids from other studios; a program of classic music and television clips called “Rhino Retro” produced by Warners’ Rhino Records; and “Ask Dr. Science,” where viewers send random questions to be answered.

Warners is now looking for third party producers outside of the Warner Bros. family to create programming.

Interest from heavies

The division has already garnered interest from actors Adam Sandler and Chris O’Donnell and director Damon Santostefano, among others, to create shows and other content.

Entertainment-related news and headlines on Entertaindom will be provided by Entertainment Weekly, Reuters, Daily Variety and CNN. Entertaindom will also include auctions from eBay.

Entertaindom represents Time Warner’s new Internet strategy, revamped earlier this year, that plans to target content instead of building one all-encompassing Web portal such as a Yahoo! or Lycos. It shut down money-losing portal Pathfinder earlier this year.

Other “hubs” still to bow include those that focus on news, finance, sports and lifestyle, with the idea of promoting content from Time Warner’s brands that relate to the hubs.

Through Entertaindom, Time Warner has opted to focus on vid-based programming. Warner Bros. Online has already had successful broadcasts of Adam Sandler’s “The Peeper,” 10 minutes of “The Iron Giant” and the recent “Drew Carey Show” Webcast.

New entertainment

“One of the great advantages that we have is we have established brands and we are bringing them to the Internet,” Warner Bros. Online prexy Jim Moloshok told Daily Variety. “Our goal is to create a new generation of entertainment networks. We’re turning to all the creative communities to say you have a new home. People who’ve had difficulty having their creative voice heard, now have an audience.”

Entertaindom is expected to generate two-thirds of its revenues directly from advertising, with the rest coming from fees collected through e-tailing partnerships and eventually by charging fees for premium content — for viewing an archived cartoon or listening to a preview of an upcoming album.

The site has already signed up 15 advertisers including Microsoft, Volkswagen, J.C. Penney Co., Intel, CDNow, RCA and eBay.

“What we’re launching is the first generation of the next generation of entertainment,” Moloshok said. “Because it’s the Web, people aren’t going to spend the time that they’re going to spend on television. Thus the short programming.”

Big push on

With the launch, Time Warner plans to begin pushing Entertaindom through a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign across all of the media giant’s properties. It hopes to attract roughly 2 to 3 million viewers by the end of the year.

“We’re an entertainment marketing company,” Moloshok said. “We have the media exposure to reach the mainstream. Today, if you look at the entertainment choices our competitors are making, the mistake you find is that they’re targeting a very narrow audience on the Internet. They want to target Gen Y. We’re going to target the other 25 letters on the Internet.”

At a time when dot coms are all the rage, Warner Bros. and other Hollywood studios have been criticized for not becoming more ‘Net savvy.

According to Moloshok, however, Entertaindom’s launch comes at the right time.

“The evolution of the Web is going from a world of early adopters to the mainstream,” he said. “And most consumers are going online to be entertained. They are television viewers who don’t want to know how it works. They just want to watch. They’re looking for familiar faces.

“The advances in technology also enable us to deliver better, more watchable content. All these things are coming together to allow the Hollywood community to flex its creative muscles on the Web.”

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