The Warner Archive Collection is a manufactured-on-demand (MOD) DVD series started by Warner Home Video on March 23, 2009, with the intention of putting previously unreleased catalog films on DVD for the first time.
Using recordable DVDs, they custom burn discs for each order sold directly to the consumer, rather than the traditional business model of pressing batches of discs that ship to "brick and mortar" retailers. This saves on the costs of storing unsold stock in a warehouse and mitigates the risk of a retailer being stuck with unsold merchandise, especially since the majority of the films in the archive do not have widespread public demand. Some Warner Archives releases previously had a pressed DVD release but have lapsed out of print before since being re-released on MOD DVD discs.
In addition, Warner Archive also sell films and television shows as downloadable Windows Media files, and operates a subscription-based streaming video service, Warner Archive Instant, which allows members to stream many of the Warner Archive properties in a format similar to Netflix.
The collection consists of theatrical films, television shows, and television films from the libraries of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment Co. (including pre-May 1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Associated Artists Productions, RKO Radio Pictures, Hanna-Barbera Productions, and pre-1991 Ruby-Spears Enterprises), HBO, Lorimar Productions, Warner Bros. Television, Allied Artists International, Monogram Pictures, Largo Entertainment and New Line Cinema/Castle Rock Entertainment.
Sony Pictures (including Columbia Pictures titles), MGM, Universal, Disney, and 20th Century Fox have also started MOD services after the success of Warner Archives. Their services are named Sony Pictures Choice Collection (formerly Screen Classics By Request), MGM Limited Edition Collection, Universal Vault Series, Disney Generations Collection, and Fox Cinema Archives, respectively. Including Warner, this encompasses five of the six major film studios with Paramount as the lone exception. Lionsgate, CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon have also started to offer MOD discs of catalog titles through Amazon CreateSpace. On April 13, 2011, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced that Warner Archive will offer on-demand titles from Sony. MGM Limited Edition titles are also sold through Warner Archive.
In November 2012, Warner announced that the Archive collection will begin selling titles on limited-edition Blu-ray Discs at the rate of one or two releases per month. Paramount signed an agreement with Warner Bros. in June 2013 allowing select Paramount titles to be released under the Warner Archive moniker. The titles are manufactured using the same MOD process, initially being limited to older titles that had previously been released on DVD but since become out-of-print and unavailable.
By mid-2016, Warner Archive's Blu-ray Disc releases included season sets of current television series, such as iZombie, The 100, Longmire, The Originals and Lucifer.
Expanding their films availability to Internet streaming, in July 2014 Warner Archive introduced the Warner Archive Instant service. Similar to Netflix, Warner Archive Instant allows its members access to various Warner Archive library titles via their website, in addition to apps for Roku and iOS-based devices. As of June 2015, the service is presently limited to serving customers who are located in the United States.