Lionsgate, Comic-Con Partnering on SVOD Service

Having grown from a small convention showcasing comic books and fantasy literature to a mega-event for promoting feature films, TV series, video games, collectibles and more, Comic-Con is now expanding via a subscription video-on-demand service it will offer in partnership with Lionsgate.

The service, which Comic-Con International: San Diego and Lionsgate will launch in the U.S. later this year, will feature exclusive original short-form content, and films and television series from Lionsgate and other studios.

For hardcore Comic-Con fans, archived footage from the expo's 45-year history will also be available exclusively on the service. The companies said they will also use the channel to extend the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF) into a year-long online event.

"The biggest pop culture event of the year will become a year-round digital channel for Comic-Con fans and audiences around the world," Jim Packer, Lionsgate president of worldwide television & digital distribution, said. "The fan base for the kind of films and television series showcased at Comic-Con has grown exponentially, and a subscription video-on-demand service is the ideal platform to capture the magic and excitement of the Comic-Con experience year-round."

The new channel is Lionsgate's third SVOD service. It also recently launched the Lionsgate Entertainment World platform with the Alibaba Group in China. It also has announced, the planned launch this summer, in partnership with Tribeca Enterprises, of Tribeca Shortlist, an SVOD service for film aficionados.

The Comic-Con service will be "distinguished by its imaginative curation, depth and diversity of content, and fierce loyalty to the Comic-Con brand," said Peter Levin, Lionsgate president of interactive ventures & games.

Comic-Con International has grown from 300 attendees in the basement of San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970 to more than 130,000 fans from around the world last year. Badges for this year's Comic-Con, scheduled for July 9-12 at the San Diego Convention Center, sold out in 60 minutes, Comic-Con said.

Fans can watch for more news about the SVOD service at the joint venture's website.