Almost every video on Machinima, one of YouTube's biggest and most established multi-network channels, abruptly vanished last week.
A few days after the company was absorbed into Fullscreen Media, most of Machinima's videos were apparently deleted or set to private. This wiped out years of videos about gaming and other parts of genre culture, including the three-episode DC animated series Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles.
Warner Bros. Animation's Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles served as a prequel to Justice League: Gods and Monsters, a 2015 DC Universe Animated Original Movie that featured especially dark alternate universe takes on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Both the film and the series were well-reviewed and developed by DC animation veterans Alan Burnett, Bruce Timm and Sam Liu. Although a 10-episode second season of the series was announced in 2015, the project was shelved indefinitely in 2016.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles debuted on Machinima alongside other videos from independent creators and officially-licensed web series like Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist.
As a representative from Otter Media, Machinima's parent company, told The Verge, Machinima will be focusing on producing new content and has "pivoted from distributing content on a handful of legacy operated channels.”
After being founded in 2000, Machinima joined YouTube in 2006 and evolved into a multi-channel network that helped creators monetize their videos in YouTube's early days. While the prominence of multi-network channels waned as YouTube made it easier for individual creators to earn money on their videos, Machinima still had a robust subscriber base that included millions of potential viewers.
After receiving millions in funding from Warner Bros., the company was fully acquired by Warner Digital Media in 2016. As part of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner and its subsidiaries, Machinima was absorbed into Fullscreen, another multi-channel network, last week.
With the DC Universe streaming service and WarnerMedia's planned streaming service, Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles and Machinima's other licensed properties could find a new streaming home in the relatively near future. However, thousands of other user-created videos face a far more uncertain future, and years of Internet history could be permanently offline.