Comic-Con and Lionsgate are the latest to deliver a streaming service to add to all the other online content that is proliferating. It's an attempt to build on the event that delivers a crowd of 130,000 attendees to San Diego every summer, the millions more who follow coverage online — and the audiences that have made movies like "The Dark Knight" and "The Avengers" into kings of the box office.
The service is set to launch later this year. A date has yet to be announced, but the obvious time would be during July's San Diego Comic-Con or shortly thereafter.
"The fan base for the kind of films and television series showcased at Comic-Con has grown exponentially," Lionsgate executive Jim Packer said in a press release. He described the service as "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."
Subscribers will have access to short-form programming that's exclusive to the channel, Lionsgate films and TV shows, as well as movies and shows from other studios that have yet to be announced. It was also announced that the new service would be a place to show titles from Comic-Con's annual film festival year-round.
However, the big item for fans is likely the announcement that it will include archived footage from 45 years of Comic-Con. The available archival footage will include footage from the panel's baby sister convention, WonderCon, which was originally held in the Bay Area before moving to Anaheim and, next year, Los Angeles.
"We have been extremely impressed with Lionsgate's embracing and understanding of fan culture," Comic-Con's David Glanzer said in a release.
While no live programming was announced, fans are likely hoping that some Comic-Con events may end up live-streamed or show up online not long after the convention. Comic-Con is already broadcasting the content of some panels to overflow rooms at the convention center, and as the event continues to face space issues, this could be another way to alleviate the pressure on the physical location of Comic-Con.
This is the third online service that Lionsgate has announced, all of which are partnerships with other companies as they try to plant a flag in the world of streaming. It's also not the first streaming service to tie themselves to a comic convention: Cinedigm's ConTV launched earlier this year, tied to the Wizard World conventions, but it's attached itself to a much larger and more mainstream convention producer.
Fans who want to learn more about the new service can sign up for a mailing list. No price point has been announced.