Warner Bros. Television Group (TWX) signed distribution agreements for the broadband version of its reinvented WB Network, as well as KidsWB.com, with Joost, Dailymotion, Sling Media, TiVo and Veoh Networks, which will carry the ad-supported broadband “channels,” when they launch in September.
Conspicuously omitted: the News Corp.-NBC U joint venture Hulu, which has some library content from Warner Bros. (“Babylon 5,” “Welcome Back Kotter,” “Friends” clips), but won’t get any of the new WB’s programming, at least initially.
What the new distributors will get are old WB Network shows, other content from the Warner TV library, and original Web series including “Sorority Forever,” created by director/producer McG and Big Fantastic, the production company behind “Prom Queen.”
The WB ceased as a TV network in 2006, but Warner Bros. believes the brand still resonates with young people, and is attempting create a Web-only network to appeal to that audience. In addition to the new deals TheWB.com is distributed on AOL and Comcast’s Fancast. Warner Bros. will sell the ad inventory on the shows.
No word on the ad splits, but since Hulu isn’t involved in the deal, one could conclude they’re more favourable to Warner Bros. than the 30% Hulu takes from its content partners.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson wouldn’t rule out a future Hulu distribution deal for TheWB, but it hardly matters. Hulu already has Buffy (owned by JV partner News Corp.’s Twentieth TV), the one WB show most people want to see.
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