Like practically every other Hollywood studio or network, WarnerMedia is set to launch its own streaming service which will seek to compete against the likes of Netflix and Hulu, as well as Disney’s forthcoming launch of Disney+. And while the service is set to include plenty of new content — including some new DC content — like its competitor Disney, Warner Bros. is reportedly planning to pull some of its content from Netflix ahead of the launch of WarnerMedia. So, what does that mean for the various Arrowverse series, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and other shows that are extremely popular on Netflix? Well, it’s doubtful that the shows will continue to be a part of the original streamer’s library beyond its current deals.
Despite Netflix having recently renewed its distribution deal for F.R.I.E.N.D.S. for an astounding $100 million, allowing the streaming giant to retain (non-exclusive) streaming rights through the end of the year, it’s expected that the series will be pulled ahead of the launch of WarnerMedia. Kevin Reilly, WarnerMedia chief creative officer, told those in attendance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that Warner Bros. will seek to pull its “crown jewels” — i.e. The Big Bang Theory and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. — for the studio’s own service. But what about the Arrowverse shows?
With Reilly telling the press that “sharing destination assets is not a good model,” and the belief that said assets should be “exclusive to the service,” it would seem the Arrowverse shows are likely to follow suit. Currently, The CW and Netflix have a deal which sees the channel’s shows debut on the streaming service just weeks after a season wraps up. That deal, however, is set to expire this Spring, and it’s not expected that it’ll be renewed. As Reilly explained, Warner Bros. is very interested in putting those titles “on our platform,” which means Warner Bros. would likely retain exclusive streaming rights to shows such as Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and the non-Arrowverse Black Lighting.
Other titles expected to find a new streaming home on the as yet unnamed service are Riverdale, which features characters from Archie Comics, and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. It’s also expected that, along with new content, the service will pull from roughly 42,000 hours of content across the company’s media library courtesy of DC, HBO, CNN, Looney Tunes and Turner. The service’s vast library will serve as the major selling point for WarnerMedia upon launch. as its not expected that the service will move into original programming until next year, programming that will include new DC Comics-based content.
It remains to be seen whether or not WarnerMedia will absorb the previously launched DC Universe, which is home to shows such as Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, and the forthcoming Doom Patrol. However, it’s of note that SyFy’s Krypton is now streaming its first season on DC Universe to allow fans to catch-up ahead of the season two premiere later this year. Other titles set to launch on DC Universe are Swamp Thing, Stargirl and the animated Harley Quinn series, and as of now, those properties are still expected to launch exclusively on DC Universe. It’s also worth noting that Titans is set to begin production on its second season in the coming months for a speculated 2020 release, meaning the show would return just in time for the proper launch of WarnerMedia’s streaming service should DC Universe be absorbed into the new service.
Warner Bros. has yet to unveil an official launch date for its latest streaming service, but it is expected to arrive, at least in beta form, by year’s end. As for the price point, the streaming service is expected to offer three different membership tiers, though how those will break down remains unknown at this time.