A couple months ago I got a phone call from guys at Platinum studios asking if I would be interested in promoting the Comic Book Challenge. Most of you probably realize that our advertising tends to focus mainly on web comics so instead I asked if we could have an interview, thus I ended up getting Scott Rosenberg on the phone for a good hour. There was no reason why that wasn’t going to be the end of the conversation, but after the interview Scott and the rest of his company gathered together to pepper me with questions about web comics.
What was going on? A major comic company was actually interested in what someone in web comics had to say? The biggest piece of news that came out of it was just annouced in the NY Times on Monday. Platinum Studios has acquired DrunkDuck and plans to release all it’s print works through the web first. If didn’t know this little tidbit of information already you’re probably having the same reaction I was happening, a couple minutes of silence followed by someone asking if I’m still there. As if I would hang up. What does this mean though?
The initial impact is what Dylan Squires would call a huge influx of cash into his struggling hosting site. The site has had so many problems that chances are you stopped paying attention, not to mention the site was about as maintainable as holding water in a paper towel. With the article coming out of the NY Times, yes the Times wrote an article that props of web comics, everything was annouced. There is going to be a major overhaul of the hosting site with the most important part being the addition of dedicate servers. I was surprised they didn’t have them in the first place considering it’s hosting over 2000 web comics. What’s more the plan on adding better tools, better reporting, larger space, email for the creators, and ways for the popular webcomics to generate some revenue for their creators.
All this was discussed and more. Personally I said the above was required for them to even be players in our little world. Comic Genesis and Webcomics Nation are already doing the same and are pretty much at the top of the hosting areana. The question is what more can they do? Let us expand on the question of revenue. How much would you hate to now have DrunkDuck comics covered in ads from Platinum? My suggestion was to offer several advertising models including one without any at all, considering just how much readers hate to find their favorite comic taken over. What about merchandising and print books? Well you’ll have to wait here about the former but the later I have few remarks I plan on sharing.
My biggest suggestion was in order for them to really compete they need to leverage they’re print side into the web medium. In other words they should offer a clear path from producing a web comic to relase it in print. Basically taking a look at 01Comics, ComicXpress, and Lulu and doing it right. If DrunkDuck is already hosting 25% of webcomcis how many more will flock to their banner knowing they can easily produce a book, especially since everyone wants to own what they love? When version 2.0 is relased later today I’m sure there is going to be a flood of news around it.
The question I fill compelled to ask is what does this mean for the rest of us? This article is already too long so I’l wait a day and post another article.