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Future of Streamer DC Universe in Limbo as HBO Max Prepares to Launch

Fern Siegel

Streamer DC Universe kicked off in September 2018, but delivered a slim TV output. Conversely, HBO Max has been developing major DC projects, which raises questions about DC Universe’s viability, reports Business Insider.

Both are part of WarnerMedia. HBO Max, which launches on May 27, is seen as the streamer with the most muscle. HBO Max will run $15/month and stream content from across the giant company. DC Universe is $8/month and comprises original TV shows like “Titans” and “Harley Quinn,” which are based on DC Comics.

The big question is: Does DC Universe have a future?

“Stargirl” is the only new series that has been announced for DC Universe this year. However, Major DC projects will be part of HBO Max, such as “A Green Lantern” series and “Strange Adventures.” The streamer also greenlit three new dramas from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros, including Justice League Dark characters.

“No doubt AT&T is looking to use all of its assets, DC being a critical component, to make HBO Max a player in the competitive streaming landscape,” Stephen Beck, the managing partner of consultancy group cg42, told Business Insider Still, he noted WarnerMedia is not in “the business to create a suite of standalone offerings. They’re in the business of creating a mega platform.”

One issue is disposable income. Streaming viewership is up, but the economic repercussion of the pandemic are also costing jobs and forcing belt-tightening.

A Morning Consult report from mid-April says consumers avail themselves of free trial periods for smaller, less-established platforms. But it will take time and data to discover if that trend translates into regular-paying viewers. Conversely, seven in 10 new subscribers pay to watch the giant streamers.

WarnerMedia doesn’t disclose subscriber numbers for DC Universe. There has been some speculation that consolidation with HBO Max is possible. For the niche streamer to thrive, its parent company has to provide support and long-term projects to keep fans hooked.

Photo credit: Warner Bros. Television