Warner Bros. opened up its Warner Archive Instant service to the public this week, giving fans of vintage titles of the studio unlimited streaming access to movies and TV shows for $10 a month (hat tip to Engadget). It’s an interesting experiment, but the offering in its current form will appeal only to a few hardcore fans: to the casual viewer, Warner Archive Instant feels like a B-movie version Netflix, without any of the new stuff.
Movies currently available for streaming include titles like the Mummy (the 1959 version), Tarzan and the Mermaids and Cat People. TV shows offered include 77 Sunset Strip, Gilligan’s Island and the Adventures of Superman from 1952.
One should mention that this isn’t a big gamble by Warner Bros. on online distribution, but just another way for the studio’s archive operations to get its titles out. And there certainly is a community for this kind of stuff, which previously was mostly available on DVD. Still, one has to wonder whether there could be a bigger audience for these titles on existing subscription services, and whether reinventing Netflix with such a small catalog and specialized is really a good idea.