A Warner Streaming Service Shut Down by New Owner

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The glory days of video streaming, where one or two services could get you all you wanted to watch, may be coming to an end as more companies seek to monetize their own content.

Now that AT&T owns Time Warner, they are shutting down DramaFever, a service dedicated to Korean drama and other Asian programming that launched in 2009 and was acquired by Warner in 2016. (This comes after the same division shut down Warner Archive Instant earlier this year.)

The reason? Licensing costs. With more services (including Amazon Prime and Netflix) competing for content, it’s no longer cheap to acquire this kind of programming. Also, there are plans to launch a more comprehensive WarnerMedia streaming service, and as part of that, “AT&T said it would be “consolidating resources from sub-scale D2C [direct-to-consumer] efforts,” which evidently included the phasing out of DramaFever.”

The abrupt shutdown angered customers, who were given no notice and are still waiting on refunds.

Also bad news this week for fans of Asian content was the announcement that Funimation was pulling its shows from Crunchyroll as of next month. Funimation was acquired by Sony last year, while AT&T now owns Crunchyroll. Funimation has their own streaming service that Sony wants to expand.

Exclusives are seen as necessary to get attention and subscribers, but how many people are willing to pay for just one or two must-watch shows? And how many services does someone want to keep track of, particularly when they try to get more than $5 a month from viewers?

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