Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 26, 2016

Missed It: comiXology Announces Netflix-Style Service

I didn't miss it by a lot of time, but I am playing a bit of catch-up. Here is a reasonably straight-forward comics industry oriented piece on the digital distributor comiXology starting a streaming service called comiXology Unlimited. It's similar to curated streaming experience for film like those offered by or Netflix. It's not really a deep-dive offering like some of the company-specific programs. Under this program you pay your six bucks a month and get a mix of first-few issues and representative titles that kind of rotate in and out. For film, this strategy has hit a sweet spot between a world when lots of stuff is being offered, but that you're also not over-exposing the catalogs involved in terms of total depth and breadth.

I made my usual inquiry as to how the pay model works, and was given a no-comment by the distributor. I've been told that creators get paid out of a pool based on the relative number of contributed pages, and that sounds like the kind of strategy that could be in play.

Marvel and DC, ideal candidates for self-launched services featuring their own libraries, are not included.

I'm reading things on Twitter that indicate Image Comics made this particular distribution decision on behalf of the creators who publish under their banner, with all the usual questions about the implications of that for the company's aura of self-directed publication. I'm not finding a piece that confirms that, though. Then again, I'm writing this at 5:31 AM and should be able to update when I'm fully awake, perhaps even before this rolls out.

There are also significant questions about the overall effect of such services on other art forms, and what a successful version of this program would mean for comics folks.

Also from what I've reading this has been an opportunity for comiXology to reiterate its branding as a dominant market player and a force to potentially expand readership.
posted 12:55 am PST | Permalink

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