IPC Media, owners of classic comic archive, considers title closures

archie_vs_spider001.gifIPC Media – owners of classic but no longer published titles such as Lion and many comic characters such as the Steel Claw, the Spider and Robot Archie – has announced that it is undertaking a strategic review of its niche and specialist titles.

This is ‘corporate speak’ for cutting and selling off titles if they aren’t doing well.

IPC Media publishes over 85 media brands, with print brands alone reaching almost two thirds of UK women and 44% of UK men – almost 27 million UK adults. In January, it re-organised its publishing businesses, the first phase in a long-term strategy to maintain readership.

IPC Media CEO Evelyn Webster says the strategy, creating a new, audience-facing structure comprising Connect for mass market women, Southbank for upmarket women and Inspire for men, is “working well“. But clearly, like many media companies, the company is facing challenges to its publishing business, and there have been many redundancies behind the scenes as it retrenches to better deal with the new media market challenges of web, mobile and print… and magazine closures are also on the cards.

“While print remains the engine that drives our business, we are increasingly focusing on accelerating the development of our multi-platform offerings to our consumers,” says Webster.

“As a result we need to review whether it is desirable for IPC to continue to publish the full range of brands that we currently own.

“This review may lead us to conclude that we sell some of our smaller titles to publishers where they would have a stronger strategic fit and will therefore benefit from a greater focus.”

The review will be conducted over the next few months.

If only they would sell off their comics library so someone make something of some of Britain’s best-loved comic characters…

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Magazines

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3 replies

  1. Don’t Egmont now own most of their comic characters now?

  2. Are they even aware they own 70 years of comic history?

  3. No – the cut off in terms of ownership is basically (and would it that it was this simple) 1970.

    While this only scratches the surface of what IPC lays claim to, any of the characters that appeared in DC Comics Albion series such as Steel Claw, Spider, Janus Stark etc remain the property of IPC, as does all the content of titles like Girl, etc.

    IPC also owns Trigan Empire from Look and Learn, although Look and Learn itself is now owned by Look and Learn Ltd.

    Characters published after 1970 are, to all intent and purposes, owned by Egmont. For example, Adam Eterno, Roy of the Rovers and all the ‘classic’ girls comics such as Misty, Tammy, as well as Scream and Battle.

    There remain grey areas: when Egmont planned the return of Frankie Stein to TOXIC a couple of years back, believing the character theirs, IPC stepped in and claimed Frankie was still owned by them, even though the character was published long after the ‘cut off’ date agreed between the two companies.

    I did an interview with Andrew Sumner from IPC back in 2005 where he explained how the ownership is split for Comic World News: http://www.comicworldnews.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi?column=crumpets&page=3

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