The WB was a television network sponsored by Warner Brothers that existed until 2006. It hosted a variety of shows that were surprisingly popular, like Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s Creek and Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. In 2006 it was merged with UPN into a new network called The CW Network. For some reason, in spite of having several popular shows, the WB was never enough of a success to stand alone as a network.
Currently, the WB is rumored to be coming back as a web based portal for video content in the same vein as Hulu. One of the first questions people have asked is what content will be available on the site. Since Warner Brothers has yet to officially confirm the planned site, it’s hard to say for sure. It is expected that many of their popular shows will be making an appearance, as well as content created especially for the Internet.
The original content is expected to be geared to the demographic that made shows like Gilmore Girls so popular: 12 – 34 year old women. Other people in the industry have said they expect WB shows that no longer air would definitely be available on the site, but don’t expect the newer content from CW shows, like Gossip Girl, to be available (or at least not the current season.
While I love that content is moving to the Internet and is available for new ways of viewing, I think the increasing number of content networks like Hulu and this proposed WB site will only be confusing. The more that good content gets spread over the web, the harder it is to find. I’d prefer the content to be added to existing sites like Amazon Unboxed or iTunes so that it was all in one place. I don’t know about other people, but even spending as much time as I do online the information overload can get overwhelming. I can only imagine what it is like for someone who isn’t as familiar with finding and sorting content as I am.
That being said, the more content is spewed on the Internet, the more opportunities there are for new Internet based businesses to spring up to help people sort it out. I can see a slew of new Web 2.0 sites coming down the pike for just this purpose. Even existing Web 2.0 sites, like Orangutag and LocateTv, may find additional niches streamlining the finding, sorting and downloading of Internet video content. When you add in DVR, SlingShot and AppleTV possibilities, your viewing world just got a whole lot bigger.