REVIEW: Boomerang’s New Streaming Service
With broadband internet becoming more ubiquitous these days, along with the fact that people are spending more and more time on an Internet capable device than they do in front of a TV screen, networks are starting to resort to streaming services as an alternative way of delivering content to consumers, cutting up their own piece of the streaming VOD pie that used to be the playground of Netflix and Hulu. Just recently Cartoon Network partnered with Warner Bros in order to release yet another streaming service via the Boomerang brand, with an aim of offering a kid-friendly, cartoon-centric service that features some of the best animated content produced in the past few decades.
Currently, the Boomerang streaming service is accessible through a variety of platforms. There is an app that can be installed on iOS and Android devices, with support for other devices like Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV planned. In the meantime, people without access to an iOS or Android device can resort to the web-based version on Boomerang.com.
Of course, a streaming service will rise and fall with the content it offers. In Boomerang’s service, we’re definitely getting a really good selection, and one that fits in quite well with their model: the focus is on cartoons, so cartoons is all you’re ever going to get (for now), but boy do they offer a lot. The pitch is that they offer thousands of episodes from different franchises, and while numbers are always impressive, it’s the specifics that really hammer home the point in Boomerang’s case: you get access to episodes from some of the most celebrated franchises in cartoon history:
Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Popeye the Sailor, The Smurfs, and tons more including fairly niche (yet still successful) titles such as Atom Ant and Courage, the Cowardly Dog. The selection is fairly limited if you consider how many titles there are under Cartoon Network and Time Warner (we’re talking tip of the tip of the tip of the proverbial iceberg here) but there’s more content being added on a regular basis and the service has just launched, so we’re assuming that they’re just ironing out the licensing kinks and we’ll get a beefier selection as time goes by. What’s on offer right now should be enough to tide any cartoon fan over until the library is expanded.
The Boomerang streaming service will look uniform whether you’re using the app or the web-based version, which is good in terms of not having to relearn how to navigate the service when you change devices. However, the design itself is fairly mediocre – you won’t see any of the flashy dynamic controls or sleek presentation that have become de facto standards for streaming services these days. All you’ll get is a thumbnail and the title. It gets the job done and is clutter-free, but it really looks bare and simplistic to a fault. Still, it’s functional and the service is new, so it’s hardly a dealbreaker.
Now we get to the most important part. There are already a number of paid streaming services available to consumers nowadays, and most of them already offer cartoons as part of their library so Boomerang has its work cut out for them. The value proposition for Boomerang is easily explained: the titles on offer are some of the best animated shows to have come out from CN and Time Warner, with most of them being must watch shows for anyone who wants to experience the best that the medium has to offer, anytime they want and as much as they want, without any commercial interruptions (which is basically the point of Video on Demand services).
Additionally, the fact that it is highly targeted and completely kid-friendly means that parents/guardians will have an easier time ensuring that the shows they will watch with their kids are child-safe. It basically boils down to price: is all of the above worth what Boomerang is asking?
The answer for this will depend upon the subscriber, of course. Currently, Boomerang is asking for $5 a month or $40 per year for those who want lower rates in exchange for a long term commitment, which should be very affordable but whether it’s worth it will depend on how much you enjoy the content on offer and whether you want to fit in another streaming service on top of what you are already subscribed to. Fortunately for those in the fence, there’s also a 7 day free trial that allows you to test the service which should be enough to decide.