Chief Executive Officer Jim Lee Speaks About the Fate of DC Universe Streaming Service and Other Rumors

DC Universe Review: Superhero Streaming Service Is a Good Start | Den of  Geek

The DC world is ever-changing. On Monday, August 10, WarnerMedia fired 20% of the colossal comic book company's staff. In light of this, fans have turned back to rumors and concerns that have popped up here and there over the past year. Thankfully, The Hollywood Reporter brought these topics to the attention of DC's Jim Lee, who is the company's chief creative officer and publisher.

One of the big concerns has been the fate of DC Universe. When the streaming service launched in September of 2018, the same year that AT&T acquired Time Warner, DC Universe showed promise with a library of digital comics, archival shows and films, and a planned slate of original shows. Since then, the digital comics library has grown substantially, allowing fans to read lots of stories that they might not have been able to afford otherwise. Their original shows have received critical acclaim, but there have been complications in the past year.

For starters, Swamp Thing got cancelled after its series premiere, for reasons that are still not quite clear. A year later, WarnerMedia would need content for HBO Max, the streaming service that they intended to launch. Doom Patrol season 2 aired simultaneously on both DC Universe and HBO Max, though fans have suspected that this will lead to the show becoming an HBO Max exclusive. Harley Quinn episodes have also ended up on both SyFy and HBO Max. Stargirl episodes premiered on DC Universe, but aired again on The CW. With season 2 having been confirmed to be exclusive to The CW, fans questioned whether the confirmed Titans season 3 and Young Justice season 4 would even be on DC Universe. Plus, talk show DC Daily had to end because of budget concerns caused by the pandemic. There have been some negative vibes surrounding DCU in the eyes of the concerned subscribers who do not want to see the app get shut down.

Now, Lee has basically confirmed that there will be a move to HBO Max: "The original content that is on DCU is migrating to HBO Max. Truthfully, that’s the best platform for that content. The amount of content you get, not just DC , but generally from WarnerMedia, is huge and it’s the best value proposition, if I’m allowed to use that marketing term. We feel that is the place for that."

HBO Max has acquired some DC films to stream. Most recently, Birds of Prey was added to the streaming service on August 15. Fans have expected DC films and shows to move to HBO Max, but have voiced that they hope that, at the very least, DC Universe stays afloat even just for the comics library and the community. Lee adds some reassuring words: "In regards to the community and experience that DCU created, and all the backlist content, something like 20,000 to 25,000 different titles, and the way it connected with fans 24-7, there is always going to be a need for that. So we’re excited to transform it and we’ll have more news on what that will look like. It’s definitely not going away."

With that, DC Universe subscribers who have been praising the service can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they will at least have some sort of equivalent to Marvel Unlimited. Lee's words do not specify whether shows and films old or new will still be available to watch on DC Universe. However, if the worst-case scenario is that the app transforms into something that has only the comics and the community, then that is still a pretty good deal.

Speaking about the DC Direct division, which handles collectibles, Lee adds, "we will probably shift to a higher price point collectible and more of a licensing model, working with manufacturers we already work with. From a consumer point of view, there will not be a change or drop off in the quality of the work they are seeing. Behind the scenes, how we create it and how we get it to them is going to change."

Furthermore, Lee addressed the rumor that AT&T does not want more comics to be published. According to Lee, DC is still putting out comics, and he cites storytelling as a cornerstone for the company. However, the output will be decreased by 20-25%, via the cancellation of titles that either do not break even or cause financial losses for the company. October will see the end of Batgirl, Batman and The Outsiders, and Justice League Odyssey, while November will see the end of Hawkman, John Constantine: Hellblazer, Suicide Squad, Teen Titans, and Young Justice. Lee says, "It’s about more punch for the pound, so to speak, and increasing the margins of the books that we are doing. It was about aligning the books to the franchise brand content we’ve developed and making sure that every book we put out, we put out for a reason."

DC is still moving forward with comic book content, even if it may not be as much content as before. Even their move away from having Diamond as a distributor has exceeded expectations, according to Lee. One of the more wild rumors is that DC would make a deal to have Marvel publish DC's titles, but Lee shot down that rumor as well. Even though DC may be scaling back on some aspects, it is still appears to be very much alive. There will be changes, but fans may rest a easier knowing that things are not as bad as the wildest of rumors.

Source(s): The Hollywood Reporter