AOL and Warner Bros have announced plans to bring television to the Internet masses early next year.
According to the two companies, thousands of old episodes will make a comeback exclusively on AOL.com.
The network- called In2TV - will allow consumers to stream full-length episodes from series such as Welcome Back Kotter, Falcon Crest, Beetlejuice, Lois & Clark, Babylon 5, La Femme Nikita and Growing Pains for free and on-demand on the Web.
Along with full-length episodes, In2TV will also include unique interactive features such as games, quizzes, polls, trivia contests and more.
These series will be offered in a new DVD quality video format called “AOL Hi-Q”. It will be made available free to any broadband user (along with standard-quality streaming).
“This service will bring an unprecedented collection of popular TV series to a totally new platform, revolutionizing the distribution of television programming. It will enable users the opportunity to be entertained and to interact with the programming that has groundbreaking interactive features”, said Eric Frankel, President, Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution.
The In2TV site will organize the TV series into six genre-themed channels, listed below. (Additional channels will be launched at a later date.) Fans will also be able to search the series by show titles, cast names, and other key words and phrases.
- “Starchives” - Episodes featuring stars before they were stars, including Brad Pitt on Growing Pains, and Jay Leno on Alice
- “Punchlines” - Great viral comedy clips
- “TV Karaoke” - Sing-alongs with favorite TV show themes
- “Classic Crème de la Crème” - Showcase of the most memorable episodes of a given series
- “Betcha Didn't Know!: The Ultimate TV Quiz” - Fans can test their TV trivia skills
- “RetroRunway” - Fashion from TV series
- “StarFavs” - Stars' favorite episodes
- “Where Are They Now?” - Find out where your favorite stars are now
- AIM interviews with cast members
- Month long salutes to specific series, stars, and genres with extensive episodes available online and numerous interactive features. Examples could include “Kotter-thon” and “Teri Hatcher-A-Thon”
The service will still come with adverts but will be limited to a total of 1-2 minutes within each 30-minute episode as compared to 8 minutes of advertising on broadcast television.
According to AOL the move has been made possible thanks to 53% of U.S. households in America signed up to broadband in a recent survey conducted by Pew Internet Project.