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Comic-Con Panel: Ignore Digital at Your Own Risk

27 Jul, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

SAN DIEGO — Earlier this year, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” co-creator Kevin Eastman sold off the rights to Heavy Metal magazine to music industry veteran David Boxenbaum and film producer Jeff Krelitz.

The duo weren’t just buying a print publication, Krelitz shared during a July 26 digital convergence panel at San Diego Comic-Con International. The anticipated production of films, TV shows and multimedia content under the “Heavy Metal” brand was behind the purchase, he said. He asked those attending the panel to raise their smartphones in the air, if they had one. Almost every hand went up.

“That’s why we’re in the business,” he said. “Home video is still very strong, but every year it’s a little weaker.”

Digital can help that, he said.

That was the theme among the digital-centered panelists: The way content is being consumed has changed, and content creators need to change with it.

Daniel Alter, co-founder of Vetted Media, which supplies video services for multiplatform content marketing campaigns, looks at how digital services (namely Netflix) helped make “Breaking Bad” the No. 1 show on TV. The availability of the first seasons helped drive record viewership for the final season.

“I never thought the No. 1 show of all time would be on AMC,” he laughed. “We’re entering a unique digital era. This is the future, where we build destinations, and they’re hubs for content. I didn’t watch the recent season of network TV. I watched it on Hulu.”

Krelitz said studios have done well in adapting (shrunken windows, early digital availability before disc, etc.) but going to the movies just isn’t as attractive as it once was, he added.

“I’m much more apt to give you my weekend [on digital] than go to a theater for a couple hours on a Friday night,” he said.

Jasmine Andrews, head of strategy and business development for Fullscreen (which runs a global network of content creators and brands on YouTube), said the entertainment itself is changing, with people on YouTube turning into powerhouse content producers.

“Vloggers in particular are speaking directly to the audience and they build a direct relationship over time,” she said. “That’s refreshing compared with other forms of media.”

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