WarnerMedia Company Shakeup Memo Doesn’t Mention Fate of DC Universe

DC Universe Stargirl comic book selection. The season 1 finale of Stargirl streams Sunday 8/9/20

On the Simpsons there’s one character always crying in the town meetings, “What about the children?!”

I feel the same way — in a less comedic fashion — about DC Universe.

Sorry, I like the service. It’s not the perfect streaming service, no, it’s not even a very good streaming service for movie and TV shows. I wouldn’t and don’t recommend it for that reason, but DCU rocks the DC comics scene and if you dig the characters it’s a good place to hang. It’s a great service for reading and enjoying the DC comic book world. If you don’t care about any of that, or very little, well, it’s not on your radar.

It’s niche. Niche isn’t bad to those of us who like things that don’t need to be super popular. Niche, however, can be a problem on a corporate ledger sheet.

WarnerMedia has been going through major changes moving people around, layoffs, all the things many companies are doing during the pandemic.

In the latest news, CEO Jason Kilar is taking the axe to some high level corporate positions, which from my perspective, anyway, is refreshing. Not that I want to celebrate anybody losing their jobs, I think most (not all!) high level corporate execs are grossly overcompensated. It always seems like the people at the bottom are the first to be terminated while corporate Titanic deck chairs simply get rearranged.

This past week, CEO Kilar made some moves, but DC Universe specifically isn’t mentioned. At least from what I’ve read, anyway. Please let me know in the comments if you have learned otherwise somewhere else.

In fairness, “DC” is mentioned by Kilar, but not specifically DC Universe. You can read the entire company reorganization memo at the link below, but I’ve highlighted the only mention of anything “DC” related to Warner Bros.

The Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group continues to be led by Chairman Toby Emmerich. Warner Bros. Television Studios group continues to be led by Chairman Peter Roth. Warner Bros. Interactive remains part of the Studios and Networks group, along with our Global Brands and Franchises team including DC led by Pam Lifford, and our Kids, Young Adults and Classics business led by Tom Ascheim, all focused on engaging fans with our brands and franchises through games and other interactive experiences. 

WarnerMedia CEO reorganizes company with layoffs, focus on HBO Max

Who is Pam Lifford?

Lifford has been at Warner Bros since 2016 and previously was EVP Global Licensing at Quiksilver for four years including DC Shoes, the company that successfully countersued DC Comics when they sued the Shoes over their trademark. Before that, she was EVP and Global Manager at Disney Consumer Products for twelve years, and before that Director of Product Development Apparel at Road Runner Sports and Product Development Manager at Nike.

Meet Dan DiDio and Jim Lee’s New Boss – Pamela Lifford

That article was from 2018. Enter 2020 and Dan Didio is gone in a decision made earlier this year. DC Universe? The silence around this service could mean that it’s going to keep running as a comics-only competitor to Marvel’s comics only app, could be further gutted or left to run as it is with little to no new movie or TV originals or exclusives.

My guess — and it’s only that — is DCU will be repurposed as a comics-only service with very few to none movies and TV. WarnerMedia won’t even call it a streaming service, as that flagship will be HBO Max. They won’t want to dilute that brand by having multiple smaller streaming services, nevermind they do have other streaming services like Crunchyroll that are doing well. Crunchyroll might be niche enough to not be perceived as an HBO Max competitor. DC Universe, however, has the superheroes, has Joker, Batman, Superman, Harley Quinn — these characters and others from DC are much too valuable to leave on a niche streaming service.

Shutting down DC Universe would be a mistake and leave their comics business … where? The comics and graphic novels are part of the lifeblood of the characters mentioned in the last paragraph. I don’t see how DC stops making comics. Maybe they go primarily or digital only, but that’s a whole other can of worms. it would reduce printing costs, sure, but a lot of purists still prefer trees over digital.

Why do you think DC Universe wasn’t mentioned? Is it because WarnerMedia doesn’t see it as that significant as I’m saying, or do you think they’re hoping others won’t notice the omission? Or is it something else?

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