The Boomerang internet-video service — which will not carry any ads — will launch sometime in the spring of 2017, priced starting at $4.99 per month. It marks the first time the two companies have offered the WB-owned animation library of 5,000-plus titles from Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes and MGM on a streaming platform. New and classic shows on the service will include “Bugs Bunny,” “Scooby-Doo,” “Tom & Jerry,” “The Jetsons” and “The Flintstones,” with content rotated weekly.
The Netflix-style subscription video-on-demand service is an extension of the linear Boomerang TV channel, which Turner distributes to some 144 million households worldwide and includes many of the same titles. The TV channel isn’t going away, and Turner is positioning the SVOD service as complementary to the product it sells to pay-TV providers — as a way for Time Warner to create new revenue streams from its divisions’ intellectual-property portfolios.
But Turner may irritate fans of the Boomerang TV channel by making the SVOD service the exclusive home for new episodes of three popular series: “Scooby-Doo,” “Looney Tunes” and “Tom & Jerry.” In addition, the Boomerang subscription service will host exclusive original series; the first of those are Warner Bros. Animation’s “Dorothy and the Wizard Of Oz,” a new spin on the classic L. Frank Baum tale, and “Wacky Races,” a reboot of Hanna-Barbera’s late-’60s slapstick-y road-rally series.
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It’s the second SVOD service from Turner, which last fall launched the Turner Classic Movie-managed FilmStruck stocked with classic, foreign and indie movies, including titles from the Criterion Collection. Warner Bros., meanwhile, a year ago acquired DramaFever, which will power the Boomerang internet-video service and also handle customer service.
When WB bought DramaFever last year, the studio wasn’t buying the asset simply to get into its core business of streaming Korean TV shows. Rather, it was more about obtaining the underlying infrastructure that delivered those shows in order to create more over-the-top services. Boomerang likely will be followed by a string of additional OTT offerings to come from Warner Bros. Digital Networks, which also oversees Machinima, Warner Instant Archive, Blue Ribbon Content and the digital aspects of the studio’s partnerships with Ellen DeGeneres and LeBron James.
“We are bringing the best new and classic characters to kids, families and animation fans so they can now watch their favorites anywhere, anytime on any screen,” said Craig Hunegs, president of business and strategy for Warner Bros. Television Group who also heads Warner Bros. Digital Networks.
The Boomerang SVOD service will be available only in the U.S. At launch, it will be accessible on the web and via iOS and Android devices for $4.99 per month (with a seven-day free trial) or $39.99 annually (with a 30-day free trial). Turner expects to expand later to more platforms, including Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
Features set to roll out in the months following launch will include family-based profiles, personalized recommendations, download-to-go for offline viewing, Spanish audio, and interactive features. Turner and Warner Bros. said they’ll also explore additional distribution deals for Boomerang SVOD with a range of partners.
“Boomerang is a beloved brand that has always had multi-generational appeal and some of the greatest animated shows ever created,” Christina Miller, president of Turner’s Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim, said in a statement. “Our ongoing partnership with Warner Bros. around this new premium service continues our strategy of making sure our fans are engaged with fresh and fun content whenever and wherever they want it.”
More info on the Boomerang SVOD service is available at Boomerang.com, where users can sign up to be notified of updates.
Andrew Wallenstein contributed to this report.