If you've been longing to see old classic movies and Netflix isn’t quite cutting it for you, Warner Bros has launched a new subscription OTT service called Warner Archive Instant. But is it worth it?
Warner Bros has a century-long history of TV and movie production going back all the way to the 1920s. This would lead you to believe that subscribing to its service a no-brainer. Well, not exactly. According to TDG analyst Bill Niemeyer, Warner Archive Instant doesn't provide a whole lot of content. It's been referred to as "Netflix Lite" and comes at a higher price.
Let's take a look at what Warner Archive Instant has to offer:
- Subscription cost – $9.99/month (vs. Netflix’s $7.99/month);
- A somewhat ‘limited’ library of streaming movies and TV shows from the WB libraries:
- Movies – 126 (I counted) from the 1920s to the 1990s. Some are genuine ‘must watch’ classics (Dark Passage, A Bad Day at Black Rock), some are cult favorites, and some are filler from the dusty depths of the WB library (1949’s Gun Law Justice starring Jimmy Wakely – what? – who?);
- TV – five series (yes, five – from the 1950s through 1970s). I might mention that on Netflix, TV shows get more viewing than movies;
- Device support – PCs and Roku boxes (HD is only available on Roku); and
- The FAQ speaks of curation but little is in evidence. Also, apparently there is no recommendation engine (maybe you don’t need one with less than 200 titles).
Although the idea is good, there are simply too many negatives with this solution. Limited content is perhaps the biggest issue. Many OTT services are chasing the same licensing agreements; even Netflix doesn't appeal to everyone due to the lack of certain material. Device support is another problem, since the market is getting flooded with different types of media players. Without seamless integration within media players and mobile devices, the audience is bound to be limited.
The Warner Bros service seems more like a beta version that was released too early to the public. You would expect a studio with so many movies and TV shows to offer access to more of its content, but that's far from the truth.
What would it take for you to subscribe the Warner Archive Instant service? What would it take to keep you as a subscriber?