The biggest news coming out of the 48th annual Comic-Con gathering in San Diego Thursday was a surprise announcement from Warner Bros. The studio announced it was launching a new streaming portal called DC Universe, involving iconic superhero characters such as Batman, Superman, Aquaman, The Green Hornet, Wonder Woman, and many more.
As part of the streaming portal includes original scripted programming. Shows announced include Titans, Stargirl, Doom Patrol, Young Justice: Outsiders, Harley Quinn, (both animated), and a revival of Swamp Thing. A trailer was unveiled Thursday for Titans at Comic-Con:
The news shook up the annual television, comics, and pop culture gathering, where hardly any big news was expected.
DC Universe marks AT&T’s first major investment in content since the purchase of Time Warner became official last month (approved by a judge, the Justice Department recently appealed the decision, putting the merger once again in doubt.) Cost of the service is $7.99 a month or $75 a year.
In addition to original programming, DC Universe plans to feature off-network material, including former Fox Kids series Batman: The Animated Series, the live-action Wonder Woman TV series, and others – although it is unlikely the 1966-68 version of Batman would be part of the streaming package given the rights to the series are controlled by 21st Century Fox.
Theatricals featuring DC Comics characters are also being featured on the service.
Also, fans can purchase episodes (but not stream) current CW superhero series under the DC name such as The Flash, Arrow, and Black Lightning. Fans can also access their favorite comics digitally, buy exclusive merchandise, and exclusive message boards where they can interact with DC Comics’ writers and creators and other fans (and bash Marvel product, obviously.) The DC Universe will be available on all devices, including iOs (Apple), Amazon Fire, Android, Chromecast, Roku, and many more.
The move comes as more and more studios are facing increasing competition from the Netflix behemoth, who is investing $13 billion in original content, not to mention Hulu and Amazon. DC Universe is also competing with a planned streaming service from Disney, who is buying the television production and film operations of 21st Century Fox and has rival Marvel in its arsenal.
Currently, Marvel has a “Marvel Unlimited” portal for $9.99 a month. But the service only provides access to the company’s digitized comics collection while its movies and television series are tied up in Netflix – consider this an advantage as DCUniverse would have all of its product under one roof sooner.
The “trailer” for the new service is below.