The idea of a "Netflix for comics" isn't a new one and several players, such as Marvel Unlimited, Scribd, Comixology, Comic Fix and others litter the digital landscape. DC has given comic fans further variety in choice through its DC Universe platform which pairs original streaming video content with digital comics and talk shows.
In the battle to be king of digital content, the players are jockeying for position. In a major move that gives further options to independent publishers, Cinedigm - the digital cinema, software, and content marketing and distribution company - has reached a deal to acquire ComicBlitz - a startup that launched in 2016 and aimed to be the “Netflix of digital comic books".
The financial terms were not disclosed but this partnership could turn ComicBlitz, which offers titles from notable franchises such as “Transformers,” “Star Trek,” “Judge Dredd,” “Bloodshot,” “Vampirella,” “Green Hornet,” “The Shadow,” “The Spirit” and “30 Days of Night”, into a major player in the digital comics space. According to Cinedigm, the deal should close before the end of the year and lead to revenues for ComicBlitz of up to $5 million within 18-24 months of closing.
Cinedigm plans to push the platform, currently available in 133 countries with a catalog of around 10,000 comic books from publishers including IDW, Valiant, Lion Forge and Dynamite Entertainment, as a licensed offering for mobile carriers and other media companies, including its own OTT video services.
ComicBlitz founder and CEO Jordan Plosky will join Cinedigm’s Digital Networks team as part of the deal. In a statement, he said "Cinedigm gives ComicBlitz unprecedented support and an incredible opportunity to reach a large and enthusiastic audience, which is invaluable and extremely rare for a digital comic book company to receive. I truly believe this is a milestone moment not only for comic readers, but for the comics industry as a whole.”
Erick Opeka, the president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, added, “From blockbuster films to hit television series, comic books are at the heart and soul of the modern entertainment landscape and passionately loved by consumers worldwide. ComicBlitz’s product exemplifies exactly what we are accomplishing at Cinedigm — providing compelling digital products to global customers that speak to their passions. We’re thrilled to add ComicBlitz to our growing roster of content and service offerings, and we look forward to bringing Jordan’s relentless entrepreneurial spirit to Cinedigm.”
Cinedigm is an independent content distributor in the United States, with a library of 50,000 films and TV episodes, and direct relationships with over 60,000 physical retail storefronts and digital platforms, including Wal-Mart, Target, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, as well as national cable and satellite Video On Demand (VOD).
In addition to its film and TV distribution business, Cindedigm operates nine networks of OTT services including CONtv, geared around pop-culture and fandom; the faith-and-family Dove Channel and DoveKids; and esports channel Wham Network. Its forthcoming services include Hallypop, a K-pop and Asian music network, and Bambu, a service stocked with Chinese shows and movies. Cindedigm has recently inked distribution agreements for its OTT networks with partners including Roku, Xumo, Samsung, Tubi, Vizio and Comcast.