Comic-Con Video Service To Open Access Yet Reserve Exclusivity
Free beta access starts May 7
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Photo by Beth Accomando
Seth Laderman, executive vice president and general manager, Comic-Con HQ
David Glanzer, spokesman, Comic-Con
Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter
Comic-Con HQ Press Release
Press release regarding new subscription service from Comic-Con and Lionsgate.
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Last year, Comic-Con and Lionsgate announced that they were partnering on a subscription video on-demand platform that would cater to fans of the pop culture convention. As someone who had been going to Comic-Con since I was a teenager and who has been shooting video there for more than two decades, I worked with both Lionsgate and Comic-Con gathering interviews with fans about what they would want from such a subscription service.
Soon they are about to find out if their hopes will be fulfilled.
The newly named Comic-Con HQ will offer free beta access beginning May 7 (which fittingly is also Free Comic Book Day) to preview programming and get feedback from fans.
"There will be produced programs, there will be some original content, scripted and unscripted, that will be I think incredibly interesting to our fan base," Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said. "There will be some streaming we hope of some stuff at Comic-Con. It won’t be live streaming because we find that a lot of people that come to Comic-Con love to be there first to hear about the information first, so we don’t want to take that away from them but our hope is to eventually have a lot of panels that are available on the site that people can check out in case they didn’t have an opportunity to see them during the weekend."
Fans should appreciate the desire to preserve that sense of exclusivity for those who buy passes to get into Comic-Con, which has in recent years needed to cap attendance at around 130,000. But considering the hundreds of hours of programming that goes on — and only a small fraction being the big Hollywood panels — it would be great to be able to catch up with panels in the evening or in the weeks following the convention. The challenge in recent years has been not just that there are so many panels to choose from but also that in order to even have a shot at getting into a panel you usually have to queue up two panels in advance. That takes a lot out of your convention time so knowing you might be able to catch panels you had to miss in order to get to another one is attractive.
At this point Lionsgate is planning to offer the scripted comedy series “Kings of Con,” inspired by real-life fan convention experiences from “Supernatural” stars Richard Speight and Rob Benedict; the science entertainment program “Impossible Science,” starring magician Jason Latimer; and the previously announced behind-the-scenes series “Her Universe,” hosted by founder Ashley Eckstein, following contestants as they design geek couture for the Her Universe live San Diego Comic-Con fashion show.
There is also exclusive coverage promised for the Masquerade and the Eisner Awards. Glanzer said that Lionsgate is also going through hundreds of hours of old panel footage to see what archive material might be viable to use for broadcast. That would be a fabulous prospect since Comic-Con has been offering panels for more than four decades, including some with comic book legends that are no longer with us. Comic-Con is also opening up its photo archives to Lionsgate for use, which is also exciting news.
The subscription service is planning its official premiere in June, just in time for this year's Comic-Con, which kicks off on July 20 with preview night. Seth Laderman, Comic-Con HQ executive vice president and general manager, said the price has not yet been set but he wants to "keep it at a price point where it's accessible to everybody."
Laderman said Comic-Con HQ will have a booth at Comic-Con's sister convention, WonderCon, which takes place March 25-27 at the new location of the Los Angeles Convention Center (previously it was at the Anaheim Convention Center).
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