Fans everywhere are invited to join DC Universe, a subscription service bringing DC Comics, movies, and new live-action and animated TV shows streaming directly to users on their phones, computers, tablets, and TV screens.
Announced today, the DC Universe is designed to be a hub for anything and everything DC Entertainment, keeping fans up to the minute on news, contests, exclusive products and collectibles, as well as original TV shows exclusive to the service. Given the new details, a streaming platform for the live-action Titans, Swamp Thing, and Doom Patrol shows as well as the animated Young Justice and Harley Quinn is just the tip of the iceberg.
Scheduled to launch this Fall, the service will be the exclusive way for fans to WATCH the DC Universe, including select animated films, the first four Superman movies, the first seasons of Batman: The Animated Series, and the first season of the Wonder Woman TV show (for the first time in HD).
And of course, there are the five new series coming from DC exclusively to DC Universe, beginning with the live-action Titans:
- TITANS follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.
- Doom Patrol is a reimagining of one of DC’s strangest group of outcasts: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Woman and Crazy Jane. Led by the mysterious Dr. Niles Caulder they're called into action by the ultimate hero for the digital age, Cyborg. Banding together these rejects find themselves on a mission that will take them to the weirdest and most unexpected corners of the DC universe.
- Swamp Thing follows Abby Arcane as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus in a small town in Louisiana but soon discovers that the swamp holds mystical and terrifying secrets. When unexplainable and chilling horrors emerge from the murky marsh, no one is safe.
- Young Justice: Outsiders features the return of the fan favorite animated series with a huge cast of DC's most iconic young superheroes - plus brand-new characters, many of whom are just discovering their unique meta-powers and special abilities. Set against the backdrop of a rich, deep world that touches all corners of the DC universe, the season focuses on meta–trafficking, and an intergalactic arms race for control of these super–powered youths.
- Harley Quinn follows Harley’s adventures after she breaks up with the Joker and strikes out on her own in this new adult animated comedy. With the help of Poison Ivy and a ragtag crew of DC castoffs, Harley tries to earn a seat at the biggest table in villainy: the Legion of the Doom.
For fans of the actual comics, subscribers will be able to READ the DC Universe, with the aim being to "elevate the comic reading experience." The service's comics reader is said to include "native, untethered access across devices from a smartphone or tablet to a living room screen," prompting fans to reconsider how social reading a graphic novel can truly be. For now, the "curated" library of accessible comics is referred to in the thousands, with several historic issues, as well as acclaimed runs and reboots specifically highlighted.
The service also promises daily videos, news, and contests, but for those who have long wished Marvel or DC would try to use their blockbuster movie success to drive fans to the comics, it seems DC Universe will finally be bridging the gap. DC co-publisher Dan Didio explains:
"We wanted the DC UNIVERSE comic reader to be a blend of art and technology that would further enhance fan’s experiences of the live-action and animated programming on DC UNIVERSE. This hand-curated selection from our decades of comic creations gives fans a thematic digital longbox to carry with them on the device of their choosing or lets them watch exclusive video content on a big screen followed by the comic that inspired it."
And in what may be the most interesting layer to the service, DC is promoting the ability of each user to customize their account with avatars, assemble playlists based on their top ranked heroes and villains, and engage in dedicated forums aimed at "finding friendship and sharing their DC passions in a shared space within DC UNIVERSE."
DC isn't the first franchise holder to develop a devoted ecosystem to better highlight and present their properties to both existing and new fans, but this concerted effort to serve DC books, films, television, promotions, and merchandise directly to fans is a major step. In the past, DC co-publisher Dan Didio explained the publisher's apprehension to offer unlimited comic access to subscribers (as seen with Marvel Unlimited) as devaluing the products. Now it seems comics represent just one content stream DC is looking to curate for those interested. For newer fans who would find a full catalogue, or animated shows spread across multiple networks daunting, this kind of service could be the ideal solution.
Questions concerning the strategy and plans both short and long term will hopefully be answered soon enough, but today's announcement of DC Universe illustrates the scope of the company's vision. This announcement comes hot on the heels of DC's new deal with Walmart, putting carefully selected 100-page DC Comics on new store shelves for just $4.99. Comic-Con is fast approaching, but it appears DC Entertainment is showing their plans for the future a little ahead of time.
We'll do our best to cover the official details as they arrive, but for now, be sure to read these comments from the architects themselves, courtesy of the official press release:
“Developing new ways for consumers to access some of our most popular and iconic brands and franchises as well as exclusive new content whenever they want, on the devices they choose, is one of our studio's top priorities,” said Craig Hunegs, president, Warner Bros. Digital Networks. “The DC UNIVERSE platform gives fans a place to tailor their experience and build a direct relationship with DC in a way they never could before.”
“DC UNIVERSE is so much more than a streaming service. It’s a welcoming place for everyone to immerse themselves in their own level of DC fandom, with the epic characters, stories, and experiences they have come to expect from DC,” said Jim Lee, chief creative officer and publisher, DC Entertainment. “We are investing in and creating original, high-quality shows including the new Titans series, and curating the most beloved nostalgic content, while at the same time elevating the comic reading experience to new heights. Nothing this robust has ever been offered to fans before.”
Fans can sign up today for a chance at DC Universe beta access, which will open in August 2018. Beta access will give members a chance to test the new digital experience and provide feedback before the service goes live later this fall 2018.
Source: DC Entertainment