It looks like Time Warner finally knows how to fully integrate AOL into its media offerings. The company plans to use AOL to launch six new advertising -supported on-demand Internet TV channels under the brand name In2TV. Each of the channels will feature programming drawn from more than 4,800 episodes from the Warner Brothers television library.
None of the shows will be available in TV syndication when they are offered on for free viewing on the Internet.
The new rerun channels scheduled to debut in early 2006 are:
LOL TV – Sitcoms
Dramarama – One-hour dramas
Toontopia – Animation
Heroes and Horrors – Science Fiction and Fantasy (mostly)
Rush – Action
Vintage – Misc. classic TV
Of the channels, three are of major interest to fans of science fiction and fantasy.
- Heroes and Horrors is obvious, it will feature such shows as Wonder Woman, Babylon 5, Lois & Clark and The Adventures of Superman.
- Toontopia will air reruns of animated fare such as Pinky and the Brain and Beetlejuice.
- Rush, along with mundane police dramas, will feature spy-fi fare such as The Fugitive and La Femme Nikita.
For the service AOL says it has developed a new way of encoding video called “AOL Hi-Q,” which it says will allow DVD-quality full screen video. In2TV also plans to have computer-based games and viewer polls designed to accompany the series.
According to press reports and a company press release, AOL will be offering about 300 new episodes a month of about 100 TV series in the first year of operation.
AOL did run into one major hurdle in its effort to rebroadcast some of the old Time Warner shows on the Internet. The company said the complex nature of music copyrights forced it to re-master some of the series to replace some of the soundtrack music with new, original music because there was a problem with royalties in some instances.
So, even though some of the oldies may look the same as when they were first broadcast, they may not sound the same.