By Sahil Patel
Lionsgate is partnering with Comic-Con International: San Diego, the organizer behind the annual entertainment fest in San Diego, to launch a subscription streaming channel dedicated to that community.
Set to launch later this year, the channel will offer a wide range of content, including original short-form videos and series, relevant films and TV series produced and distributed by Lionsgate or acquired from other film studios, and exclusive archived footage from the last 45 years of San Diego Comic-Con.
Footage from WonderCon, San Diego’s sister convention that is also produced by Comic-Con International, will also be distributed through the channel.
The overall goal for the channel is to make Comic-Con a “365-day-a-year online event,” the companies said.
Of course, that is the same reasoning behind Con TV, a similar digital channel from film and TV distributor Cinedigm and Comic-Con producer Wizard World, which organizes almost every Con outside of the one in San Diego. Con TV also offers original series, films and TV shows, and exclusive Comic-Con content. Unlike what Lionsgate is planning, Con TV has both free and subscription options.
That said, San Diego Comic-Con is still the granddaddy of all the Cons, with an annual attendance that has eclipsed 130,000. Badges for this year’s fest sold out in 60 minutes.
“The fan base for the kind of films and television series showcased at Comic-Con has grown exponentially, and a subscription video-on-demand service is the ideal platform to capture the magic and excitement of the Comic-Con experience year-round as well as the perfect vehicle for Comic-Con fans to discover new content,” said Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV & digital distribution.
Conversations for this channel began two years ago, both companies said. They plan to make it available worldwide, though beginning with the US later this year.
This will actually be the third streaming product from Lionsgate as the studio expands its business to include more direct-to-consumer options for its content. The studio recently launched the Lionsgate Entertainment World platform in partnership with Alibaba in China. It’s also announced Tribeca Shortlist, which it’s building in partnership with Tribeca Enterprises and plans to launch later this summer.