×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Warner Bros. Forms Over-the-Top Video Division

Warner Bros. Digital Networks led by Craig Hunegs, who will continue to oversee business and strategy for TV group

Warner Bros. has formed Warner Bros. Digital Networks, aggregating the studio’s owned digital video and over-the-top video services and focused on expanding its reach into direct-to-consumer entertainment.

The new division will be led by Craig Hunegs (pictured above), who adds the title of president, Warner Bros. Digital Networks to his current responsibilities as president of business and strategy for Warner Bros. Television Group. In both positions, Hunegs reports to Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros. chairman and CEO.

The group encompasses DramaFever, the subscription-video service specializing in Korean TV shows and film dramas that WB acquired earlier this year from Softbank, as well as WB’s investment in Machinima; its partnership with NBA star LeBron James’ Uninterrupted for digital projects; and its interest in Ellen Digital Ventures, a partnership with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres. Also under the WBDN umbrella will be Warner Archive Instant, a subscription VOD service offering classic titles from the studio.

In addition, Warner Bros. Digital Networks will work closely with Time Warner’s Turner and HBO divisions, as part of the parent company’s overall strategy to reach audiences directly through current and future OTT services. Last year HBO rolled out the $15-per-month HBO Now service, which doesn’t require a pay-TV subscription, and Turner has set a fall launch for FilmStruck, stocked with more than 1,000 art-house and indie titles from Criterion Collection and other sources.

“In today’s on-demand world, OTT gives us a really effective means to directly provide consumers the programming they want,” Tsujihara said in a statement. “By forming Warner Bros. Digital Networks, we’ll be able to operate more nimbly as we continue to develop and deliver on our digital strategy which will complement our industry-leading distribution business.”

In an interview, Hunegs said WBDN is working on several new OTT channel projects, which will be rolling out in the next few months. “The unifying theme is getting the studio closer to our audience,” he said.

As for the CW — the network jointly owned by Warner Bros. and CBS — Hunegs said his team will also work to expand its OTT reach. “You’ll see the CW distributed more broadly and in more ways than it’s ever been,” he said. “You’ll find that in more places and on more devices.”

A parallel digital effort brewing at Warner Bros. is “Project Mix,” a digital studio working with talent to create shows and productions outside the bounds of typical Hollywood studio fare, according to sources familiar with the plans. Project Mix is focused on content creation, but it may have an OTT presence as well. That’s in addition to Blue Ribbon Content, an in-house studio WB launched in 2014 geared toward short-form video projects for digital platforms.

More Digital

  • Vaccination

    YouTube Yanks Ads From Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy Channels

    YouTube, under fire for facilitating the spread of conspiracy theories and other misinformation, said it will no longer serve ads on channels that espouse anti-vaccination rhetoric. The Google-owned video giant cited its advertising policy that bans “dangerous and harmful” content from eligibility in its monetization program. “We have strict policies that govern what videos we [...]

  • Evan Williams, Twitter founder (R) and

    Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board

    Twitter co-founder Evan “Ev” Williams is stepping down from the company’s board, Twitter announced in a SEC filing Friday afternoon. Williams will depart from the board at the end of this month, according to the filing. “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

    Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes. Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company [...]

  • Smosh

    Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment

    UPDATED: Smosh, the long-running YouTube comedy brand, has been acquired by Mythical Entertainment, the company formed by Rhett & Link, hosts of comedy show “Good Mythical Morning.” As first reported by Variety last week, Mythical emerged as the leading candidate to buy Smosh, which was left stranded after parent company Defy Media shut down without [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content