Lionsgate is teaming with Comic-Con International to create a Netflix-like digital subscription video-on-demand streaming service to be launched later this year.
The new service is being described as a year-round online experience for long time fans and emerging audiences worldwide that will launch with a broad portfolio of content including original short-form content created exclusively for the channel's subscribers, films and television series from Lionsgate and other studios designed to appeal to the diverse interests of Comic-Con's fan base as well as exclusive archived footage from Comic-Con's 45-year history. As part of the new channel, the two companies will also work closely to make the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF) a 365-day-a-year online event.
Last year 17 of the top 20 North American box office blockbusters had a presence at the Comic-Con Convention along with iconic television series such as The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. Comic-Con International has grown from 300 attendees in the basement of San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970 to well over 130,000 fans from around the world last year, marking its evolution into a staple of popular culture and the longest-running comics and popular arts convention in America. Badges for this year's Comic-Con sold out in 60 minutes.
"We're thrilled that the biggest pop culture event of the year will become a year-round digital channel for Comic-Con fans and audiences around the world," said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer. "The fan base for the kind of films and television series showcased at Comic-Con has grown exponentially, and a subscription video-on-demand service is the ideal platform to capture the magic and excitement of the Comic-Con experience year-round as well as the perfect vehicle for Comic-Con fans to discover new content."
Reflecting the tremendous interest in the diverse roster of comics, films and television series showcased at Comic-Con International each year, the two companies plan to roll out the new service beginning with the U.S. later this year.
"From the beginning of our discussions, nearly two years ago, we have been extremely impressed with Lionsgate's embracing and understanding of fan culture," said Comic-Con's Director of Marketing and Public Relations David Glanzer. "Working with our Lionsgate partners has been an exciting exercise in finding great ways to expand our horizons to deliver the unique magic of Comic-Con and the celebration of comics and popular art to our fans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and around the world."
"As a next generation studio, Lionsgate has grown up with Comic-Con, and their fans are our audiences," said Lionsgate President of Interactive Ventures & Games Peter Levin. "We're excited by the opportunity to expand and enrich the world of Comic-Con for existing fans and extend it to a whole new global audience with a channel distinguished by its imaginative curation, depth and diversity of content and fierce loyalty to the Comic-Con brand."
Originally showcasing comic books, film and fantasy literature, Comic-Con has grown to also encompass science fiction, horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectibles, video games, interactive multimedia, webcomics, fantasy novels and other aspects of pop culture. In addition to San Diego Comic-Con International, the new subscription video-on-demand service will also have exclusive access to the archives of sister convention WonderCon.
The new Comic-Con International channel is the third streaming service to be launched or announced by Lionsgate as the Company continues to build its suite of online platforms to deliver content directly to consumers. Lionsgate also recently launched the Lionsgate Entertainment World platform with the Alibaba Group in China and has announced the planned launch this summer of Tribeca Shortlist, a subscription video-on-demand service for film aficionados in partnership with Tribeca Enterprises.
Fans may visit http://comic-con.org/ondemand to become the first to learn details about the new service.