When Time Warner Inc. split out from its cable company, Time Warner Cable, it seemed to set a trend for content companies not owning distribution companies. Time Warner, with its Warner Bros studio and cable networks, including TNT and TBS, has been focusing more on managing its content efforts. And they have been forward thinking with deals outside the cable operator including distribution deals with Netflix, Redbox, and even with Facebook.
So today's announcement comes as a little bit of a change in their digital distribution strategy. "Warner Bros.
started a subscription streaming service featuring vintage TV
shows and films, creating a new player in the online viewing
field". Their new subscription service, called Warner Archive Instant is expected to feature older TV and movie content while newer content is available on the other online providers. Will these partners find any concern with their content partner now becoming a distribution competitor? I would imagine that Netflix and Redbox would prefer aggregating all the Warner content available as their consumers love both old and new programming made available to them. But if Warner Instant Archive finds itself with a winning formula, Time Warner may just try to extend itself further in newer content, bypassing their partners for a likely better profit margin. And that is what may be troubling to these other subscription service providers.