NEW YORK Warner Bros. said it has ambitious plans to launch T-Works, a new Web entertainment destination built around the company's roster of animated characters that will combine a video hub, a virtual world, social networking elements and a gaming platform.
T-Works, due in spring 2008, will involve content contributions from multiple Warner Bros. entertainment divisions, including Warner Bros. Animation, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics. The ad-supported site, which will likely appeal to a wide demographic, will incorporate some type of user-reward system.
T-Work's video section will feature full-length episodes of the company's library of TV series such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo and The Flintstones—shows that Warner Bros. has long syndicated to TV partners—along with several made-for-the-Web series. Among the originals in the works are a new short form Batman series and a spinoff of the classic film The Wizard of Oz. Fans will also be able to create their own video mashups using cartoon clips from various classic series.
The site will house a virtual world where users can create avatars based on the company's characters, and then can interact with other fans. Users will be able to use their avatars within a personalization feature of the site, via which they can create a MySpace-like profile. Besides encouraging fans to interact on T-Works, the site will enable users to place its content on other venues such as social networking platforms.
Warner Bros. plans to offer more than 125 games on the new property, all featuring its animated characters. The site will also attempt to serve younger users and their parents with a section focused on more age-appropriate content.
With T-Works, Warner Bros. is entering a ripe, but crowded field, as kids have gravitated in large number to virtual worlds and Web 2.0 functions such as widgets. Earlier this year, Disney.com unveiled Disney XD, a multimedia platform that can be personalized, while Nickelodeon rolled out the virtual world Nicktropolis. In 2008, Cartoon Network is planning to release an original multiplayer online game.
Warner Bros. is banking on the enduring popularity of its animated properties to draw users to T-Works.
"Warner Bros.'s iconic animated characters represent a very key part of the company's film and television histories, so it's fitting that they serve as the initial entry point into this online universe," said Barry Meyer, Warner chairman and CEO. "In addition to being a great entertainment destination for fans, T-Works will also serve as a great marketing platform for all the studio's businesses, helping us to reach audiences in a space and in a manner that's all about Warner Bros."