Turning Comic Books and Graphic Novels Into Online Video

Media Morph: Comflix

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: Comflix.

WHAT IT IS: Comflix is the first -- and, at the moment, only -- comic-inspired, ad-supported video network. It turns comic books and graphic novels into free online videos. The company fancies itself somewhere between print comic books and an "X-Men" feature film.

WHO'S BEHIND IT: Comflix takes work from comic-book publisher Platinum and turns it into videos. Together, the two have spawned Splastk, an ad network to make money off the videos.

THE VIDEOS: You won't find slick, Shrek-like animation. Instead the videos adhere closely to the graphic stills of comic books, using things like audio and voice-overs to up the entertainment factor. Each book is turned into a series of serialized, animated chapters of two to four minutes each.

THE ADS: Marketing messages run in the branded player, a 15-second pre-roll ad and then content; one ad per two- to four-minute clip. Display ads also run as part of the buy. There's also the opportunity to run branded integration. For example, Harley-Davidson was integrated into a Johnny Delgado comic book and the brand followed the storyline into the video. Splastk is also talking to agencies about original branded comic books.

WHO'S USING IT: Sony PlayStation is the first advertiser on the site. The videos are distributed throughout the web on an affiliate network of sites.

THE BIG PICTURE: Earlier this month Ad Age's Brian Steinberg wrote about how a slew of marketers, from to AT&T to Campbell Soup were tapping comics as part of their marketing plans -- and that the industry's $32 million in ad sales was set to grow as publishers start moving online. This is prime example, and one that tries to optimize comic books for the high-speed, rich-media web.
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