Today at San Diego Comic-Con, DC announced that its streaming service, DC Universe, will launch this fall, and the company has released a trailer for its slate of forthcoming live-action shows for the platform. The first look at DC Universe reveals that it’ll go beyond being just a repository for the numerous television shows and films based on the company’s characters. It will also be a hub for all things DC, featuring a library of comics, an encyclopedia, and it will serve as a platform for fans to discuss their favorite characters and stories.
The goal of DC Universe is to gather all the fans under one roof to revel in their shared love of DC and its characters, which is something that company reps noted existing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter weren’t great at fostering. The platform is intended to be a single stop for fans that connects the company’s various offerings, including films, television shows, and comic books. The site will launch later this fall, and the company says that it’ll be competitively priced against services like Netflix. It’ll cost $7.99 a month or $74.99 for an annual subscription. Subscribers who preorder will get an additional three months for free.
Like other subscription streaming services (including behemoths like Netflix or Amazon to the more modest ones like Stargate Command), it’s not enough to just offer a library of existing content. Original productions are what will draw in new subscribers and viewers. To that end, DC, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Television, will bring five original shows to the platform, in addition to offering a slate of existing live-action and animated works. DC says that while other major offerings, like the recent Wonder Woman and Justice League films and the CW’s Arrowverse universe of live action shows, are already on other platforms, users will still be able to rent or purchase episodes through DC Universe.
DC will be able to release a new original episode each week
The company will roll its original series out over the course of a year. The shows — three live-action (Titans, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing) and two animated series (Young Justice: Outsiders, and Harley Quinn) — will collectively bring enough new material to the platform to release a new episode each week. Titans will lead the way when the service launches.
The service will also go beyond streaming video and include a massive comic book library. It won’t include the company’s entire back catalog, but it will be a select offering of 2,000 to 3,000 titles. These can be read on a phone, tablet app, or television. During a press briefing, DC representatives demonstrated the feature, which allows readers to display an entire page of a comic book or scroll through panel by panel. Moreover, they noted that while reading a comic book on a television screen might be a bit counterintuitive, it turns it from a solitary activity into one that can be shared by a group of people. Whether people will gather around a television screen to read a comic like they’d watch the newest episode of the latest hit television show remains to be seen, but the demonstration looked cool. Users will be able to blow up the individual panels of a comic to 4K resolution to show off the artwork in a whole new way.
DC Universe will do what many streaming services don’t: build a community of fans
DC seems to have realized something that’s largely lacking in the mainstream streaming platforms: it will also serve as a community platform. Netflix recently eliminated its community reviews, but DC seems to want to do the opposite by soliciting fan discussion about the comics, TV shows, and movies that attracted subscribers to the service in the first place. While the company’s reps cautioned that they’re still working out some of the details for what that fan experience will look like, they did point to discussion forums, the ability to create and share lists of favorites, news sections, encyclopedia entries, and trending publications that will encourage fans to delve deeper into the company’s vast repositories of material. The platform is designed to encourage fan engagement in a healthy way; DC notes that it’ll aggressively patrol discussion forums to ensure that users aren’t turning the place into a cesspool of toxic behavior, something it says it’s had experience with already with its DC All Access app.
Given the overwhelming number of streaming services out there already, users are hard-pressed to sign up for a new one. The quality of DC Universe’s original content won’t be known until they premiere, but it has some huge pluses in its favor. It brings the vast wealth of content — television, movies, comics, news, and supplementary databases — all under one roof, and it will hopefully foster a community that will continue to return for more.
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