Warner Bros is to launch a number of branded video-on-demand channels to be called Warner TV. The initiative will build on the Warner Channel that has operated in Latin America for the last decade. The non-linear services will consist mainly of programming produced and distributed by the studio.
In the United Kingdom, Warner TV is available on Virgin Media cable and on BT Vision. Warner TV is the first branded entertainment channel in the UK devoted to television series programming from a single studio and one of the few branded services not associated with an existing linear television channel. It features drama series such as The West Wing and Nip/Tuck.
“We’re thrilled to launch Warner TV in the UK with Virgin and BT as our valued partners in bringing this new branded entertainment service to UK consumers,” said Jeffrey Schlesinger, the president of Warner Bros. International Television. “We remain committed to finding new and innovative ways to make our programming accessible to viewers at their convenience, and we are excited to continue delivering quality motion pictures and television programs from Warner Bros. to audiences around the world via these branded channels.”
Warner Bros has previously announced a deal for a Warner TV channel on USEN in Japan. The studio launched Warner TV on the Free IPTV platform in France on a subscription basis. It has 25,000 subscribers paying 5.99 euro a month for access. Another deal has been closed with Orange in France.
Warner is planning to announce a number of other branded subscription and advertising supported video-on-demand services and branded linear channels in a variety of countries during the upcoming months.
“Many of these negotiations are in final stages and will be completed shortly,” said the president of the international television division of Warner Bros. “We feel these new services will be a compelling offering for digital cable platforms, IPTV operators and broadband aggregators looking for high-quality programming with a world-class entertainment brand. The fact that in most countries outside Latin America there is not a Warner linear channel makes this offering even more appealing as it will be viewed as something new and distinct by subscribers and viewers.”
The challenge for studios such as Warner is that many consumers have little awareness of who actually produces or distributes programmes. However, they also have only a weak association between programme titles and the channels on which they are carried in any particular territory. This demonstrates that requirement for aggregation and editorial promotion, a function that has traditionally been fulfilled by television channels and platform operators.
Nevertheless, with an extensive library of programmes that have been popularised by exposure on traditional television channels, studios are well placed to exploit new video-on-demand services.