Warner Bros. has pulled the plug on DramaFever, a subscription hub for Korean Dramas (or K-dramas) and other international programming that the company acquired in 2016 from Japan’s SoftBank Group.
The shutdown is effective immediately, reports Forbes. Prior to Warner Bros.’s confirmation, DramaFever had gone silent on its social platforms for days, and a notice appeared for subscribers on certain shows denoting that, “New episodes have been postponed until a later date.” The New York-based company said in a statement that the closure was due to “business reasons and in light of the rapidly changing marketplace for K-drama content.” DramaFever’s YouTube channel, which counts 4.3 million subscribers, has also been wiped.
Warner Bros. told Forbes that all current subscribers will be refunded.
The Warner Bros. Digital Network (WBDN), DramaFever’s parent entity, comprises a handful of other digital brands, such as gamer-focused Machinima. LeBron James‘ Uninterrupted, Ellen DeGeneres‘ Ellen Digital Ventures, and DC Universe. Warner Bros. Digital Labs (WBDL), another division that powers these streaming companies on the tech end — and which encompassed more than two-thirds of DramaFever’s total workforce — will continue to operate, Warner Bros. said.
The shutdown occurs in the wake of the acquisition of Warner Bros.’ parent company, Time Warner, by AT&T. WarnerMedia — the renamed, AT&T-owned entity — is planning to launch a streaming service of its own next year that will bring together content from its vast portfolio, including HBO, CNN, and the Cartoon Network.
DramaFever was founded in 2009, and offered both free and paid ad-free subscription tiers (starting at $5 monthly) for access to its 15,000 total episodes hailing from 15 different countries. All told, the service — which, in addition to its Asian fare, streamed episodes of the The Bachelorette and a handful of BBC titles — reached 20 million viewers.