Feb 3, 2009

An Offer WBA Can't Refuse (They Could, But Why?)

In the light of a recent deal that Lionsgate recently completed to buy TV Guide for $1, I'd like to present an offer to the shumagorath that is Time Warner.

I want to buy broadcasting and distribution rights to the non-DC Comics/Cartoon Network-owned animated properties from Warner Bros for $100. Yes, this is a small amount on the onset, but hear me out.

I know Time Warner is in dire financial straits because of mismanagement from the top down and are looking to downsize and diverse some properties from their library. Over the past decade, they shed their music, publishing, cable service, and secondary magazine labels as well as collapsed New Line Cinema into Warner Bros. Pictures. I'm not interested in those properties but rather their underutilized unit, Warner Bros. Animation. Let's face it. It doesn't really exist anymore aside from being an outlet producing adaptations of DC Comics titles. I think they're on the fifth or sixth incarnation of Batman now, and I'm not being facetious either (see the DCAU Batman, Batman Beyond, The Batman, the character's appearance in New Frontier, Batman: Gotham Knight, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold franchises). I'm not interested in those titles because, well, Warner Bros. Animation is doing alright with those.

I'm also not interested in the Cartoon Network-owned titles because Time Warner actually has an outlet for most of them. It'd be nice if they could be shown on the networks of Cartoon Network, especially the original Cartoon Cartoon shorts and the animated pilots created but never shown. I'd really like to see Tom Kenny's Plastic Man without him being paired with Batman. That would have been a great series. Too bad we'll never see it.

What I am interested in are the non-DC titles, which includes everything from Looney Tunes to Tom and Jerry Tales, and everything inbetween. Considering the everything includes a bulk of the Fleischer and MGM output, the Hanna-Barbera library, half the Rankin-Bass titles, and titles that haven't been seen in decade, that's a lot of inbetween. I want to buy the broadcasting and distribution rights to that massive library of titles for $100. Now, this has nothing to do with the merchandising and marketing rights to those properties. Some would say that's where the real money is, and that's the area Time Warner seems to want to utilize those properties in the marketplace That's why we see Bugs Bunny hawking vitamins, The Flintstones promoting cereal, The Jetsons advertising dishwasher detergent, Scooby-Doo pitching everything, and Pepe LePew selling cell service. I don't want nothing to do with that aspect of the industry in regards to those characters.

I'm more interested in the core products in which those advertising darlings spawned from, more or less the broadcasting and distribution of those shows and shorts. I understand and appreciate the value of the brands, unlike Time Warner, and I know they must be shown and not kept under lock and vault. Television became the perfect outlet for those titles, and while DVDs are a nice way to collect them, it's not the same as turning on your set and watching them. The syndication market is about to be reborn in part to the upcoming digital transition, and yet, Warner Bros. (and every "traditional" media company under the sun as a matter of fact) is woefully unprepared or willing to utilize it. It's a shame, really. I have a plan ready to repurpose the animated properties for the new medium. I can adapt for the archaic e/i laws as well as provide packages for a myriad of outlets, including so-called competitors, both at home and abroad. I would tell what that plan is, but that's the equivalent of showing a winning hand to everybody at the table, and I'm not a fool.

I'm a believer in creating market awareness by actually showcasing my wares rather than keep them hidden. I'm not interested in the marketing and merchandising rights. I see airing and syndicating those titles as a way that'll increase the need (and want) for those items to get out there in the public. It's win-win. Since Time Warner isn't interested in actually broadcasting and distributing those animated titles in the first place, they might as well sell them to me for a song. I'd gladly take it off their hands. And for an extra $50, they could hand me those Cartoon Network shorts that never made it to series.

Okay, I'm being facetious, but I know I'm not the only guy that actually wants to see the wares of the Warner Bros. Animation library.

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