Warner Bros. Digital Labs Shutters DramaFever Streaming Service

Warner Bros. Digital Labs is shuttering its DramaFever streaming video service.

DramaFever, which Warner Bros. acquired in 2016, specialized in Korean and Asian soap operas and dramas.

The decision to shut the service down comes during a rebranding effort. 

In April, DramaFever hired Rena Liu as GM and said it wanted to become a slightly broader niche service: “the leading streaming service for scripted and unscripted romantic entertainment.”

The company added rebroadcasts of ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” as well as other unscripted programming at the time. Apparently, the new programming and new focus wasn’t enough to keep the service going.

“Today, Warner Bros. Digital Networks will be closing its DramaFever OTT service, due to business reasons and in light of the rapidly changing marketplace for K-drama content, a staple of the service’s programming,” stated Warner Bros. 

“Warner Bros. Digital Labs, which encompasses more than two-thirds of the DramaFever workforce, will continue operating, serving as the tech engine behind many of WBDN’s operations.”

Warner Bros. parent company WarnerMedia was acquired by AT&T earlier this year. Last week, the company said it would be launching a new WarnerMedia streaming service in 2019, one that would pull from the company’s vast library of content. It isn’t clear whether DramaFever content will find its way to the upcoming service.

That announcement put the writing on the wall for DramaFever, as well as other niche streaming services owned by WarnerMedia. 

“We expect financial support to launch this product to come from a combination of incremental efficiencies within the WarnerMedia operations, consolidating resources from sub-scale D2C efforts, fallow library content and technology reuse,” the company said. 

DramaFever is likely one of the direct-to-consumer efforts WarnerMedia found to be sub-scale. Other streaming offerings include the kid-focused Boomerang and the newly-launched DC Comics OTT service.

WarnerMedia will be laying off about 20% of DramaFever’s 110-person staff.

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