With the launch of HBO Max only weeks away, some insiders are starting to worry about the long-term plan for DC Universe (DCU).
Despite being billed as a top priority in 2018, a new report from Business Insider suggests that DC Universe is currently in a state of limbo. “Everything is about HBO Max now,” said a former employee of Warner Bros. Digital Labs who worked with DCU and left the company this year.
The debut of HBO Max will give WarnerMedia two competing streaming services, raising questions as to why customers would pay for one over the other. The impending arrival of DC shows based on Green Lantern and Adam Strange to HBO Max, the decision to stream the second season of Doom Patrol on both services and the abrupt cancellation of Swamp Thing have only blurred the lines between the two streamers even further.
“Most of the people who I’d worked with were confused about what HBO Max means for DC Universe,” said another former Digital Labs employee. “It seems like DC Universe is emphasizing its comics and nobody really seems to know where video falls into that.”
DC Universe boasts a large collection of digital DC comics that are available to its subscribers. However, one insider said that the comics by themselves are not a “compelling enough reason” for customers to pick DC Universe over other streamers, including HBO Max.
Furthermore, with its focus on superheroes, DC Universe does not stand out among all the other services. Netflix (The Umbrella Academy), Disney+ (the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Amazon Prime (The Boys) and HBO Max (Watchmen, Green Lantern and Adam Strange) all have or will have their own superhero and comics-themed programming.
“A lot of its content doesn’t have an exclusive feel, which niche services need to secure long-term subscribers,” Richard Cooper, the research director at data company Ampere Analysis said. “Lots of services have superhero content. We’re not going to run out any time soon and it will be bigger budgets and more exclusivity compared to what DC Universe will be able to provide.”
All this leads some to believe that DC Universe may not be around in a few years in its current form.
“The feeling in the office is that DC Universe is going to be around for at least another year or two,” said the former Digital Labs employee who left this year. “They want to keep it around but they want to keep it small.”
HBO Max launches on May 27.
With the launch of HBO Max only weeks away, some insiders are starting to worry about the long-term plan for DC Universe.