October 20, 2004
King Features Commits to DailyINK.com
King Features Syndicate, the grand old man of newspaper syndication in North America, will unleash its on-line subscription service DailyINK.com
on November 1. The announcement could be found as early as October 6 in the tech weblog of the Milwaukee Journal
, and as usual hasn't shown up in the syndicate's own web site press room
yet, but most comics-interested people have now found about it via the news release published in places like Newsarama
I think it's fair to say that King Features has agonized over its on-line strategy for years. I believe their basic strategy has been to run a selection of slightly out of date strips on-line, through their own site and through clients, and letting some newspaper sites publish strips they purchased explicitly for that purpose in a more updated fashion.
Although ucomics.com has provided a similar service using the United Media properties, this is interesting for several reasons. One, King Features has a staggering catalog of old strips from which they can draw to provide the kind of overwhelming exclusive content that might wear down natural resistance to a pay feature work. Two, a lot of the strengths in any King Features line-up is in those strips performing at the 70- to 100-paper level -- surviving but not thriving. Editor Jay Kennedy, also an expert on underground comix, has a consistently good eye for accomplished art.
With the recent tipping of the balance away from dial-up connections and into DSL and faster ways of access, services like these stand that much more of a chance of being maneuverable and worthwhile. So while performance and follow-up will be crucial, and the way classic content will be provided should prove interesting, King Features finally making a bold move in the on-line arena is very worth noting.
If you haven't seen it yet, scroll down past the Newsarama-posted press release
posting one more time for a first word from syndicate critic and successful on-line strip creator Scott Kurtz
Photo of Jay Kennedy by Whit Spurgeon. John Cullen Murphy art from this fine-looking collection; it's so perfect I hope they don't mind my borrowing it.
posted 7:23 am PST
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