The latest victim in the winnowing of SVOD services is Comic-Con HQ, which Lionsgate is winding down. The content will no longer be sold as a service but licensed to other streaming platforms. Even with a presumed built-in rabid audience of comic convention attendees (whether San Diego, New York, or one of myriad hosted elsewhere), the service barely lasted 18 months. It appeared to be in decline for a number of months.
Comic-Con HQ seemed to have been priced reasonably ($5/month or $50/year) for a niche service. The simple answer seems to have been that the channel – get this – didn’t show any content from this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, the convention from which the channel derived its logo and its credibility. It relied on catalog content from Lionsgate and a couple of original programs.
Not having watched it myself, I can’t comment on the quality of the service; it may be that the service was never viable. But having a few high level comic book nerds as friends (I can only claim minor nerd-ship), I know that they have pretty substantial monthly budgets for their comic subscriptions and related ephemera. Given their fan-ship and willingness to invest in their favorite content, it would seem this was a wasted opportunity.
In a world of more than 100 – and growing – SVOD services, there is little room for error in serving the end audience, no matter how captive they may seem by their interests. Five dollars a month may not seem like much, but when consumers have to self-bundle a variety of services, the total budget can add up quickly. VRV, recently profiled by nscreenmedia, is a good example of a streaming video service that has been agile enough to address issues among its existing and potential subscribers.
David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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