Warner Bros. Offers Its Vintage Films, Online, on Roku and On Your Credit Card Bill

I like this analogy only because it’s the beginning of the baseball season: Suppose a decidedly so-so franchise—let’s say the Kansas City Royals—gave its fans the “opportunity” to watch replays of entire seasons from the past. From the Miserable Years to The Not So Bad Years. They could call it the Royals Archive and lucky Royals fans could watch many, many games, for some low, low price, like $9.99 a month.

I think I’d personally applaud the team’s effrontery. But I wouldn’t pay $9.99 a month if George Brett was my brother.

Today, Warner Bros. Archive  Instant was rolled by the studio, offering on conventional computer and Roku users the ability to watch what I guess would be called vintage movies that are now gathering the digital dust somewhere. A viewer can get a two week sample for free, but after that it will cost $9.99 a month to subscribe, though you can quit whenever you want.  The Archive was in beta testing the last couple months.

For that monthly fee you can pick from hundreds of films—as many as you want--from Warner Bros. and some related studios, which to somebody must seem like what-a-deal.

And it is, certainly, for the movie fan who can’t get enough, or happens to be looking for a film that it’s likely was not too popular to begin with.  I encourage people to be passionate about hobbies, but I find I like it best when they do it on a shoestring, or shrewd connections.  I also understand that Warner Bros. couldn’t give a two flying film grips about what I think of their online movie archive biz.

Still, it was Ted Turner, I think it was, who once marveled that cable industry was able to get tens of millions of Americans to pay $20 a month for television channels, when viewers once received it for nothing more than a bunch of commercials.

Even Ted Turner—though he tried to colorize classic black and white movies—did give us commercial-free Turner Classic Movies, where, occasionally, the movies are, indeed, classic and or least good enough.

Not to say the Warner Bros. Archive Instant isn’t nice to have around,  but it does signal to me another sign that as online video speeds toward the smart TV and OTT devices,  we’re about to see libraries of classic, middlin’ and awful content begin showing up on marketed online video and OTT specialty sites. Just a little while ago, I wrote about Popcornflix, a movie service that also shows little known movies---though most of them of more recent vintage—for free, but with commercials, the way movies used to be shown on old commercial TV stations, at 3 in the afternoon, or 11:30 at night.

 Digital enhancement and the ability to choose the Warner Bros movie and TV series you want to see from a library of hundreds of titles, does make the new services better. I mean, if you are looking for the second and third seasons of “77 Sunset Strip” you need the Warner Bros Archive. (It’s one of their highlighted offerings.) In a nation of more than  300 million people and a studio with thousands of titles, I guess there’s a business. But it doesn’t seem like a reason to get a Roku unit or a smart TV.

2 comments about "Warner Bros. Offers Its Vintage Films, Online, on Roku and On Your Credit Card Bill ".
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  1. David Cearley from self employed, April 2, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.

    If they included Bugs Bunny, roadrunner and foghorn leghorn, sign me up lol.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 2, 2013 at 7:20 p.m.


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