Classic cartoons available anytime, anywhere, and on any screen is the pitch from Turner and Warner Bros., who will soon launch Boomerang, a new U.S.-only video subscription service.
The service will offer a library of 5,000 classic Warner Bros. shorts, MGM shorts, and Hanna-Barbera tv series, including cartoons starring Tom & Jerry, Droopy, Bugs Bunny, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, and Scooby Doo, among others.
New content will be added weekly, including new original series that will be available in the U.S. exclusively through the service, such as Warner Bros. Animation’s upcoming Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz and a Wacky Races reboot.
The streaming service’s other features include family profiles, personalized recommendations, download-to-go, Spanish audio, and interactive features that will let users discover and share content. The features will be rolled out in the months following the launch this spring.
The ad-free service will launch domestically on web, iOS, and Android devices for $4.99 per month (with a 7-day free trial) or $39.99 annually (with a 30-day free trial). Warner Bros. is also planning to make the service available for Amazon, Roku, and Apple TV at a later date.
This is at least the second Turner specialty channel that has navigated from linear cable to an OTT subscription service, a timely move as cable and satellite tv subscribers continue to shrink. Last year, Turner Classic Movies launched Filmstruck.com, although that service focuses more on presenting the Criterion Collection than on using Turner’s MGM and Warner Bros. catalogs.
The real question with the Boomerang service is how many of the classic Looney Tunes and MGM theatrical shorts will be available. It would be a dream to have all of the shorts available through an on-demand service, especially if the cartoons were searchable by year and director. A full catalog like that would easily be worth $40 per year.
Warner Bros. seems to be aware to some extent that the audience for the service isn’t exclusively children. In a press release, Warner Bros. Digital Networks president Craig Hunegs noted that Boomerang would be aimed at “kids, families and animation fans.”
It remains to be seen how far Warner Bros. and Turner will go toward making the service palatable for animation fans, who will obviously have different demands than the parents who subscribe to the service for their children. Boomerang has a deep library of classic content, and if they present it well, this subscription service could be a big draw for classic animation fans. They may as well focus on fans too, because if the video below is any indication, kids today have little idea of who vintage cartoon characters are: