Is DC Universe Really A Streaming Service For All Fans?

Unsurprisingly WB and DC Comics announced a new streaming service titled “DC Universe.” This has been the service that DC announced as being host of the new Titans live-action show and the returning Young Justice: Outsiders cartoon. Now, finally, after going dark for some time DC Comics finally unveiled a teaser trailer to hype up what the DC Universe will be a host of. While the trailer does build hype for the DC Universe streaming service it does make you question if this service will be successful in the long-term.

From the trailer and press release detailing the DC Universe streaming service the company is clearly positioning it as a combination of Netflix and ComiXology. The addition of a Wikia-like community also shows that DC wants fans to be engaged with the platform in ways the other streaming platforms do now. These things along with other exclusives that DC Universe will evolve to offer their fans will likely work for their extremely loyal fanbase. The question is if it will be enough offer enough everyone else?

As someone that has made the move to all digital comics and mostly digital for TV and movies the DC Universe service should completely be right up my alley. Unfortunately once I let the hype of the announcement trailer die down that is just not the case. Which is a disappointing feeling to have because the trailer does present a service that should entice me to subscribe to as a loyal DC Comics fan.

Now why is this? For one as someone who already has Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Crunchyroll subscriptions it is hard to justify adding another subscription service. Replacing one of these services for the DC Universe streaming service could be a opinion but not one I can consider right now. And that all falls on the fact that the content that DC Comics presented from their trailer just does not compete with the likes of Netflix or Hulu.

Each of the currently available streaming service release not only old but new content on a steady basis. DC Universe is not going to do that at launch. The only show that is actually coming out in 2018 is Titans. The rest of the series they announced, including Young Justice: Outsiders, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing and the adult-oriented Harley Quinn animated series, all got pushed back to a 2019 release schedule. And even for these shows we don’t exactly know what the roll out plan will be for the episodes. Will they be released all at once to binge or weekly like on TV?

Additionally while DC Universe will have content like the Batman: The Animated Series, DC Animated Movie Universe, the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy and Reeves’ Superman movies at launch that is still a weak line-up. Because just from a brief look at what is initially offered there are notable omissions like the Arrowverse shows, the DCEU films and all the other Bruce Timm DCAU shows like Justice League Unlimited. Those are major blows to the content offering and does not help give the urge to make the jump since WB has a multi-year contract with Netflix that ensures the Arrowverse shows will still be available on that platform when DC Universe launches.

The other part of the equation that just does not work well as presented is the fact that DC went out of their way to say the comics available on the DC Universe service will be “carefully curated.” This is something that we need more information on because it does seem like more of how ComiXology, rather than Marvel Unlimited, first approached their subscription service with only the first few volumes of certain comics available. Though the wording also does put into question if these comics will always be available like Marvel Unlimited or ComiXology. Given the careful wording that is a big question that DC needs to answer as we get closer to the service’s launch.

Again, this may be fine for the hardcore who have not made the digital jump or for those who never read the older DC Comics content due to availability. But for those like myself who has made the jump to digital comics with ComiXology this is again hard to justify at the launch. I already have a large amount of the modern DC Comics publishing line-up, including the 52, Brightest Day, New 52 and Rebirth era comics, along with many classic comics digitally and in trade format. So the reality is that the comic side of things is not something that sells me on subscribing for just that part of the service.

With all of this said, I applaud DC Comics entering the streaming service competition for TV, movies and comics. The DC Universe streaming service can potentially be something that gains a strong subscriber base. The problem is that WB and DC are just now starting to catch up to Netflix, Hulu, ComiXology and others who have years, if not a decade, under their belt doing the same thing. For the DC Universe streaming service to compel fans to stick around as subscribers in the long-term there will need to be more done with the content roll out on for TV, movies and comics simultaneously. If not fan patience will be short in a time when every entertainment company is competing for people’s money and time with their own subscription services.