Warner Bros. announced today that it has created Warner Bros. Digital Networks (WBDN), a new division focused on building the studio’s digital and OTT video service properties.
Craig Hunegs will be president of the new division, while retaining his responsibilities as president of business and strategy for Warner Bros. Television Group. He will report directly to Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.
WBDN aims to accelerate the company’s owned OTT properties, including DramaFever, a K-drama-focused VOD service it acquired from SoftBank Group in February, and Warner Archive Instant, an SVOD service offering classic Warner Bros. titles. It will also manage the studio’s investments in the gaming-centric multi-platform production company Machinima, NBA star LeBron James’ media site Uninterrupted, and Ellen Digital Ventures, a partnership with Ellen DeGeneres.
WBDN will also seek to expand Warner Bros.’ OTT footprint by launching new offerings, growing current company-owned services and making strategic alliances. It will work closely with Time Warner divisions Turner and HBO — which has its own standalone streaming offering, HBO Now — to reach audiences directly through current and future Time Warner OTT services.
“In today’s on-demand world, OTT gives us a really effective means to directly provide consumers the programming they want,” said Tsujihara in statement. “By forming Warner Bros. Digital Networks, we’ll be able to operate more nimbly as we continue to develop and deliver on our digital strategy which will complement our industry-leading distribution business.”
The creation of WBDN is part of a larger effort by the big studios to increase their share of the streaming video revenue pie by luring viewers away from big tent VOD services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu to homegrown OTT platforms such as CBS’ All Access, Showtime and TrainerPass, and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.