The WB Network Hops Online

Dennis Faas's picture

The Warner Brothers Television Group has announced that "The WB Network" will be returning shortly as an online video site.

The WB, which started out as a broadcast network in 1995 and went off air in 2006, experienced an early surge in popularity due in large part to the number of compelling television series it offered (7th Heaven, Dawson's Creek) and having an identifiable mascot (The WB Frog).

In addition to opening, Warner Brothers is also launching a sister web site dedicated to children called The complementary sites are a part of the new "digital destination" strategy initiated by Time Warner in the hopes of appealing to diverse tastes and target audiences. (Source: will predominately target women between the ages of 16 and 34. The shows featured on the web site support this target audience as old favorites "Gilmore Girls", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Smallville" make their return online. These episodes will all be ad-supported and free to watch on demand.

In appealing to the growing number of people who watch their television shows online, Warner Brothers has bypassed the traditional network television structure, which means they can spend less time worrying about meeting their expected weekly ratings and more time anticipating the number of people logging on to the Internet to watch their online content.

Warner Brothers does not plan to fill their database exclusively with old WB shows. Time Warner has announced it will also feature episodes from other networks, with NBC's "Friends" topping the list as the most anticipated (free) online archived show. (Source:

There have also been deals inked to feature made-for-Internet movies and video series on the new site.

Analysts expect to face competition from other companies that specialize in producing Internet shows and movies. Warner Brothers hopes to reduce the number of competitors by agreeing to share content with a host of other sites. The company has already signed agreements that will see WB shows appear on Comcast and AOL affiliated web sites. (Source: is expected to officially launch sometime in mid-May.

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