Will the promise of two new original series next year — based on decades-old toon franchises — help convince people to pay $5 per month for Boomerang’s subscription-video service?
That’s the question Boomerang, the cartoon subscription-streaming service from Turner and Warner Bros., is raising as the one-year-old venture tries to bulk up its direct-to-consumer rolls.
In 2019, Boomerang plans to premiere two new originals: “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?,” in which the gang teams up with guest stars to solve mysteries, and “Flintstones” spinoff “Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs!” Both series are being produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
Boomerang also has renewed several existing shows, including “The Tom and Jerry Show” and “Bunnicula,” and has licensed U.S. rights to a British adaptation of “The Wind in the Willows.” In addition, it’s beefing up its product features, adding a fully translated Spanish-language version and support for Android TV devices over Memorial Day weekend.
How well will the incremental additions work to attract and retain paying customers? The new investments by Turner and WB into the Boomerang subscription VOD play suggest it’s getting traction — but it’s not clear how much. The Time Warner-owned companies haven’t disclosed how many subscribers they’ve signed up for the service, which costs $4.99 per month or $39.99 annually.
Launched in April 2017, Boomerang now provides access to over 2,000 titles for streaming or download-to-go, mostly drawn from the animation libraries of Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes and MGM. The lineup includes episodes of classic shows like “Scooby-Doo,” “Tom & Jerry,” “Bugs Bunny,” “The Jetsons” and “The Flintstones.”
Here’s another wrinkle: The standalone Boomerang subscription VOD service is separate from Turner’s linear Boomerang TV network, which is available in over 144 million homes worldwide. Turner positions the subscription VOD service as complementary to the pay-TV product. Effectively, it’s giving first-window access for new Boomerang content to the internet-streaming side of the business.
Here are details of the Boomerang SVOD current and upcoming content slate, along with new feature enhancements.
- “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?”: In the series from Warner Bros. Animation, the Mystery Inc. gang faces some of their toughest mysteries yet. To crack the cases, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo will join forces with some of the biggest names in celebrity and pop culture — including NBA star Chris Paul; recording artists Halsey and Sia; Ricky Gervais, Kenan Thompson, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mark Hamill, and Steve Urkel (voiced by Jaleel White, reprising his iconic role), as well as characters like Wonder Woman, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, and The Flash. Chris Bailey (“Kim Possible”) serves as producer with Sam Register (“Teen Titans Go!”) as executive producer.
- “Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs!”: Best friends Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble are back in this quarter-hour animated comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation, in which the duo travel beyond Bedrock to venture into The Crags, a vast land that is as dangerous and wild as the dinosaurs that inhabit it. Mark Marek (“MAD”) and Marly Halpern-Graser (“Right Now Kapow”) serve as producers with Sam Register as executive producer.
- “The Wind in the Willows”: Based on Kenneth Grahame’s classic novel, this animated series from the U.K.’s Hoho Entertainment will be available exclusively in the U.S. on Boomerang in 2019. First published in 1908, “Wind in the Willows” follows the riverside adventures of Mole, Rat and Toad with stories harking back to an era of altruism, good manners and community.
Returning & Continuing Originals
All produced by Warner Bros. Animation:
- “Be Cool Scooby-Doo!” (pictured above): Boomerang will continue to premiere new season two episodes through 2018. With high school over and one last summer to live it up, Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, Velma, Daphne and Fred decide to travel during what could be their last summer break together. The gang hits the road in the Mystery Machine, chasing fun and adventure. But danger and trouble are never too far behind as Scooby and the gang encounter new mysteries that may end up spoiling their fun.
- “Bunnicula”: Season two will continue to run through 2018 with a newly greenlit season three following in 2019. In the series, the Monroe family homestead and its two resident pets, droll dog Harold and hyperactive feline Chester, are thrown into a tizzy by the arrival of a new creature, Bunnicula — a vampire rabbit with a taste for carrot juice — that drags them into a variety of paranormal adventures.
- “Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz”: After premiering on Boomerang in June 2017, the original series will kick off season two with a Memorial Day movie special. Season two premiere episodes will continue into 2019. After the Wicked Witch of the West’s defeat, Queen Ozma has appointed Dorothy the Princess of Emerald City. With her feet firmly grounded in her ruby slippers, Dorothy tackles her royal duties with enthusiasm, bravery and farm girl feistiness — ready to track down and put a stop to any problem that comes Oz’s way.
- “New Looney Tunes”: Boomerang premiered season two earlier this year and new episodes will continue to be added to the service through 2019. Bugs Bunny is back in this series of slapstick comedic shorts that find him matching wits against classic characters like Theodore “Tasmanian” Devil, Wile E. Coyote and Yosemite Sam.
- “The Tom and Jerry Show”: Season two episodes will continue to premiere through 2018, with season three greenlit and slated to come to Boomerang in 2019. The iconic cat and mouse rivals are back and up to their old antics in a new setting that puts a fresh spin on the classic series.
- “Wacky Races”: After premiering on Boomerang last summer, the reboot of the late-’60s Hanna-Barbera show — in which a cast of animals compete in a crazy road rally — has received a season two pick-up and will premiere later in 2018.
New Product Features
- Spanish-language version: Over the Memorial Day weekend, Boomerang is set to roll out a full version of the service in Spanish.
- Android TV: Boomerang will be available via Android TV starting Memorial Day weekend, with additional platforms to launch by the end of the year.
- Profiles and personalization: Users will be able to create avatars for Boomerang and have access to new tools for show discovery.
- Playlists and interactivity: Users will have the ability to create and share playlists featuring their favorites along with other features currently in development that will let them interact with characters from Boomerang’s shows.
- Universal search: Available on Thursday (May 24) across Roku, Amazon and Apple TV devices, universal search will surface Boomerang content when users perform searches. Universal search on Google platforms will be available later in the summer.