For a while in the late Aughts, the Apple iTunes Store model was the predominant way to buy digital content: individual items from an enormous catalog, priced to buy one at a time. Then along came Netflix, with unlimited access to a more curated selection for a monthly price that adds up to a fraction of what the content would cost by the piece.
Over on comics industry web site ICV2, Rob Salkowitz notes that while the Netflix model has not supplanted digital purchasing or pay-per-view, especially for new releases and deep cuts that don’t make it into the relatively shallow assortments of streaming services, it has definitely gained momentum among consumers and paved the way for Netflix, Amazon and their ilk to become platforms for original content as well.
“Is the same shift happening in the world of digital comics and graphic novels?” he asks. “Streaming and digital subscription services have been around for a while, but the vast majority of transactions during the 2010-2014 years of market growth were individual sales through comiXology’s storefront.”
Recently, however, more players – including comiXology – have been experimenting with the monthly fee model. These include comics publishers, standalone apps and platforms, as well as services like Scribd and Crunchyroll that include comics and manga among other content offerings.
Rob’s article is useful round up of the current state of play for some services, although there’s no coverage of some digital plays such as Tapastic, or SEQUENTIUAL.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.