You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WarnerMedia Streaming Synergy? ‘Final Space,’ ‘Mike Tyson Mysteries,’ Boomerang Coming to Otter Media’s VRV

AT&T’s WarnerMedia has shut down two niche streaming-video businesses — but it’s apparently still bullish on some narrowly targeted entertainment plays.

VRV, the fandom-focused video platform run by the media group’s Otter Media, is boosting its lineup of animated programming from other parts of WarnerMedia.

VRV has nabbed exclusive streaming rights to intergalactic comedy “Final Space,” whose freshman season aired earlier this year on TBS. The service also is adding two series from Warner Bros. Animation’s catalog — Adult Swim’s “Mike Tyson Mysteries” and ’70s cult classic “Jabberjaw” — as well as Boomerang, the cartoon subscription VOD service from Turner.

“We believe there is a consumer need for aggregation, and working with our sister companies within WarnerMedia allows us to offer even more great content that our fans can watch and experience together,” Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, said in a statement.

The new VRV deals come after the shutdown of Warner Bros. Digital Network’s DramaFever and the announcement from Turner and WB that film-aficionado service FilmStruck is ceasing at the end of November.

Arlen Marmel, general manager of VRV, said “there’s no top-down mandate” from WarnerMedia to cross-license content but he said more WarnerMedia content will be coming to the $10-per-month VRV bundle in 2019. “WarnerMedia has leaned into VRV,” he said.

Last month, AT&T said WarnerMedia in 2019 will launch a broad subscription-streaming entertainment service anchored by HBO pulling in content from other parts of the former Time Warner. As part of launching the plan, AT&T said it would be “consolidating resources from sub-scale D2C [direct-to-consumer] efforts.”

“It remains to be seen what that bigger, broader WarnerMedia bundle looks like, but we hope VRV could be part of that,” Marmel said. “If we look at the broader landscape, clearly it’s difficult to operate any business that’s sub-scale. With VRV, we knew that aggregation was critical.”

All told, VRV offers some 100,000 episodes in the bundle. With the addition of Boomerang on Nov. 13, the service will include 12 channels, priced at $10 monthly (which if purchased a la carte would cost $50). The lineup includes Otter Media’s Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth, anime channel HIDIVE, Viacom’s NickSplat, Cartoon Hangover, AMC Networks’ Shudder, Mondo, Geek & Sundry, Nerdist, CuriosityStream, Boomerang, and VRV Select (a channel stocked with content licensed from partners including Syfy, El Rey/Univision, Warner Bros., and MGM).

Otter Media isn’t disclosing how many paid VRV subscribers it has signed up. Overall, it has more than 4 million registered users and over 2.5 million monthly active users. (VRV offers a selection of free, ad-supported video in front of the paywall.) On average, premium users stream around 60 minutes per day.

“The vast majority of our users do buy the bundle. There’s a lot of power in that,” said Marmel. “We can really reduce the friction to access that content.”

AT&T acquired control of Otter Media this summer, buying out Chernin Group’s majority stake in the venture in a deal reportedly valued at $1 billion. Otter Media portfolio includes Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Fullscreen and VRV.

The first four episodes of “Final Space” season one will be available exclusively on VRV’s streaming platform starting Wednesday (Nov. 7), with subsequent episodes to be released weekly. TBS has greenlit the show for a second season, which will eventually come to VRV along with any potential future seasons.

The show is produced by Conan O’Brien’s Conaco and New Form in association with Turner’s Studio T. “Final Space” was created by and stars Olan Rogers, a filmmaker with nearly 1 million followers on YouTube, with a cast that also includes Fred Armisen, Tom Kenny, David Tennant, Tika Sumpter, Steven Yeun and Coty Galloway. The second season is currently in production and is set to feature O’Brien as a recurring character.

“With ‘Final Space,’ we created a show that pairs genuine emotion and real stakes with comedy and premium animation, making it a perfect fit for VRV,” Rogers, also an executive producer of the show, said in a statement. “We hope VRV’s community loves the series and catches up on all the action before season two premieres next year.”

Eric Berman, VRV’s head of content partnerships and business development, said the deal for “Final Space” emerged after VRV was talking with TBS about potential co-productions. “They said, ‘Here is something we have the rights to,'” he said.

VRV’s programming strategy is focused around four quadrants: anime, like Crunchyroll; nostalgia-driven “kidult” content like NickSplat, “Jabberjaw” and “Freakazoid”; adult animation like “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” “HarmonQuest” (greenlit for a third season at VRV) and “Cyanide and Happiness”; and alternative reality, like Syfy’s space bounty-hunter series “Killjoys.”

As with other SVOD services, content comes and goes on VRV. After Sony Pictures Television’s Funimation last month ended its cross-licensing deal with Crunchyroll after two years, VRV also lost access to Funimation channel. “We’re upset to see Funimation go and never want to remove content from our fans, but we’re able to add other content,” Berman said, noting that HIDIVE will bring its full slate of over 500 dubbed, subtitled and uncensored anime to VRV before the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, the three seasons of detective/thriller comedy “Mike Tyson Mysteries” and talking-shark show “Jabberjaw” (which originally aired in 1976) will join VRV in 2019. It turns out that the former heavyweight boxer is a huge fan of the latter — and Tyson recorded a promo for VRV in which he sings the “Jabberjaw” theme song.

“What we’re trying to accomplish with VRV is to tap things outside the mainstream, the stuff that’s hanging out on the fringe,” said Marmel. The former exec joined Crunchyroll in 2014 as head of marketing and distribution following Chernin Group’s majority investment in it, and he has been general manager of VRV since early 2017.

Pictured above: “Final Space”

More Digital

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Release of Docs to Reveal How Facebook Made Money Off Children

    Documents related to a 2012 lawsuit against Facebook in which children, sometimes unwittingly, spent their parents’ money on games via the social site will be unsealed, according to a Monday ruling from the United States District Court. The court gave Facebook ten days to file unredacted documents in accordance with the ruling. The 2012 lawsuit [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Sets Up New Product Group for AR Glasses (Report)

    Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.” The group has already built [...]

  • nba-the-bounce-logo

    NBA, Turner to Debut Three-Hour Primetime Live Studio Show on Yahoo Sports

    Coming next week: a new NBA primetime show — delivered over the internet — covering all the live action and storylines of the evening. The NBA is teaming with Turner Sports and Yahoo to produce a live nightly show designed for mobile viewers in a three-hour block, slated to run five nights per week on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content