Warner Bros. Television Group officially launched TheWB.com, an ad-supported, video-on-demand online network to the public on Wednesday. Announced in April, TheWB.com had previously been in private beta.
TheWB.com will feature full episodes of defunct series that gained cult status over the last decade, including "Buffy," "Gilmore Girls," "Roswell" and "Veronica Mars." TheWB.com will also debut nearly a dozen original series.
Classics and originals
"TheWB.com is a new digital destination built from the ground up for the same 16- to 34-year-old audience that embraced the WB when it was a television phenomenon," said Brent Poer, TheWB.com general manager, in a statement. "We have loaded the site with their favorite classic series like 'Friends' and 'The O.C.,' high-quality original programming and a wide array of sharing features, mash-up tools and interactivity options to fit their lifestyle."
The spate of original content to be rolled out on the site within the year taps into the current adolescent niche market with decidedly teen-oriented programming, from new spins on familiar hooks, as in the surf-academy reality competition "Blue Water High," to the jarring extreme of the genre, "A Boy Wearing Makeup," touted as a "highly personal online video diary" of, naturally, a boy who wears makeup.
Director/producer/Bruckheimer devotee McG, of "Charlie's Angels" fame, has two college-focused programs in the hole, "Sorority Forever" -- which the WB bills as " 'Prom Queen' meets 'The O.C.,' but set in college" -- and "Exposed," a thriller in which a college student is haunted by a hidden past.
Hollywood's most powerful tots
There's even a program in the works featuring fictionalized versions of celebrity baby royalty. "Whatever Hollywood" will chronicle the exploits of Suri Cruise, Apple Martin and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt as "three best friends who are taking Hollywood by storm and playing by their own rules."
Several of the resurrected shows on the site boast Digitalsmiths' indexing engine that searches scene classification, voice recognition, and proprietary interpretation methods to allow viewers to search by specific dialogue, location, character, episode, season and series.
Additional plans for the site include community and social networking tools, as well as editing and mixing technology powered by Adobe Premiere Express that allows visitors to cut together audio tracks, video annotations, frames and backgrounds and share it on the web.
In support of the launch, TheWB.com created a Facebook application designed to allow seamless integration of Facebook's social utility on TheWB.com, and TheWB.com's entertainment content on Facebook. Facebook users will be able to add TheWB.com content, including video, to their profile page.
Warner Bros. Television Group has secured distribution agreements with Dailymotion, Joost, Sling Media, TiVo and Veoh Networks to feature TheWB.com programming.