Comic-Con and Lionsgate will launch Comic-Con HQ, a new, ad-free subscription video app in May, reports Variety. The app will be launched on May 7 – Free Comic-Book Day – in a free beta version for fans of comics and pop culture. The video app will officially debut in June, prior to Comic-Con International which is set for July 21 through 24 in San Diego. The video app was originally supposed to premier in 2015.
The Verge reports that Comic-Con HQ will include classic sci-fi and fantasy titles, live streams of Comic-Con International panels, original programming and bonus features. The original content will include content produced by gaming personality Adam Sessler, former host of G4’s “X-Play,” says Variety. In addition, the video app will include a news show about pop culture, a late-night talk show, an all-female panel on pop culture from a woman’s perspective, and a weekly movie talk show.
Comic-Con HQ’s original scripted and unscripted series will include “Kings of Con,” “Impossible Science” starring magician Jason Latimer, and “Her Universe” hosted by Ashley Eckstein. Comic-Con fans will also have access to live-streamed programming from Comic-Con International and archived footage from Comic-Con’s 45-year history, says Variety.
“For nearly half a century, Comic-Con has served as the definitive common ground where the fans of genre entertainment come together to express their passion for comics and pop culture,” Laderman said.
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“Comic-Con HQ aspires to extend that exchange 365 days a year, bringing everything we love about Comic-Con to the world in ways never before seen and experienced. The new platform will provide a year-round destination to enjoy all facets of the community and access the vast diversity of content the world has come to expect from the largest and longest-running pop cultural celebration of the year,” he added.
Though the price for the paid service has not been released yet, Laderman said the service will remain free through July 25 and will include this year’s edition of the convention which usually sells out of badges within minutes, says FOX5 San Diego. Initially, Comic-Con HQ can be streamed on computers and iOS and Android devices. It will eventually be available on streaming devices like Roku, AppleTV and Xbox One.
In the last 18 months, we’ve seen many over-the-top (OTT) TV services launch to rival Netflix and Hulu, including everything from CBS All Access and the WWE Network to Starz and TuYo. While Netflix and Hulu offer broad-based entertainment appealing to large audiences, many of the newer services are more niche-based, reaching out to narrow audiences. NBCUniversal, for example, launched Seeso, a video-on-demand service focused solely on comedy.
With a built-in, cult-like audience, Comic-Con is likely to do well with its video app, appealing to fans of both comics and pop culture. Instead of getting their fix at a Comic-Con convention, fans can now get their fix year-round, creating an excellent opportunity for Comic-Con to extend its branding and reap the rewards of a loyal audience.