Lionsgate's previously announced deal with Comic-Con International in San Diego has finally revealed details about their subscription video-on-demand service for nerd consumption. Now dubbed Comic-Con HQ, the service will include scripted and unscripted series, archival programming, and some familiar names.
First announced in June of 2015, just prior to Comic-Con that year, the idea behind the SVOD service was not so clear. Many, myself included, hoped a deal with Comic-Con meant fans who weren't able to attend the yearly pop culture bonanza in San Diego would be able to stream panels live for a fee, much like pay-per-view programs. At the time, Seth Laderman (previously of Legendary Digital and Nerdist Industries) was hired as Executive Vice President & General Manager to help form the service which would run year long and include short-form content made for the channel's subscribers but also Lionsgate films and archival footage from Comic-Con's lengthy history. It sounded… intriguing, but I wanted to know more.
A press release sent to us today reveals tons of new details including… yes! Live-streamed Comic-Con panels.
Unparalleled San Diego Comic-Con access with live-streamed CCHQ programming, airings of select Comic-Con panels, and immersive access to the convention floor and sanctioned events never before available to the public such as the Masquerade and the Eisner Awards. Members will enjoy interviews and previews available only on CCHQ in a growing library of new and archival panels, bonus features, behind-the-scenes previews and more.
[UPDATE: 3/14/16 – 2:50PM EDT]: New language on the unofficial SDCC blog states that the live-streaming “won”t include live-streaming of panels.” Seth Laderman, EVP and General Manager for Comic-Con HQ explained, “[We”ll] distribute the panels on our platform shortly after their live presentation.”
While they won't be streaming everything, this is still pretty huge for the fan convention that had its start in 1970. And much overdue if you ask me. With all the attention the convention has had from Hollywood in the last ten or so years, I really thought this would have happened sooner. Regardless, this is cool news for just about everyone. So, what else do they have in store for us fans?
Recurring daily and weekly programs featuring well-known personalities curating entertainment news and commentary across all facets of pop culture. G4 alum Adam Sessler (X-Play) will executive produce programs on comics, science and gaming, along with hosting his own insightful 1:1 interview series. Fellow G4 star Kevin Pereira (Attack of the Show) and his company Attack Media will executive produce an entertainment pop culture news show and a late night talk show format. Other formats on the fast track are two roundtable discussion shows, one weekly movie talk in partnership with Complex”s Collider inspired by their popular Collider Movie Talk series, and another all-female panel on pop culture from a female perspective.
I was recently discussing on Twitter the lack of actual geek news shows on television since the demise of G4 back in 2014. Shortly after, AMC announced a late-night style weekly talk show hosted by Kevin Smith and Greg Grunberg called Geeking Out. But now two of the G4 guys are back (they've both been working on other online nerd content since the end of the network) for Comic-Con HQ and while this won't be on a network, it looks as if they're working out something very similar to what came before. While many fans will be excited for their return, it would also be nice to see some new faces. Of note in this section of course is the “all-female panel on pop culture from a female perspective” but let's hope they work in some diversity throughout the rest of the programming and don't relegate the women to just one segment.
There's also going to be non-news series on Comic-Con HQ as well:
Original scripted and unscripted series debuting on the platform include: the scripted comedy series Kings of Con inspired by real-life fan convention experiences from Supernatural stars Richard Speight and Rob Benedict; the science entertainment program Impossible Science starring world champion illusionist Jason Latimer, who explores breakthrough technologies capable of achieving his seemingly impossible feats of magic with real science; and the formerly announced unscripted series with fangirl fashion company and lifestyle brand, Her Universe, hosted by founder and actress Ashley Eckstein, following contestants as they design their geek couture concepts for the catwalk of a live San Diego Comic-Con fashion show in July. These series are the first of many originals to be revealed in the weeks leading up to SDCC.
Her Universe is the brainchild of Eckstein who many know as the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. She's been working with Comic-Con the last few years on extending her geek girl clothing brand with a really fun fashion show and this series sounds very Project Runway.
For his part EVP Laderman said, “[Comic-Con HQ wants to bring] everything we love about Comic-Con to the world in ways never before seen and experienced. The new platform will provide a year-round destination to enjoy all facets of the community and access the vast diversity of content the world has come to expect from the largest and longest-running pop cultural celebration of the year.”
Everything is set to debut just before Comic-Con this summer. According to the press release it will “launch with free beta access on May 7 with its official premiere in June leading up to Comic-Con International: San Diego in July.” While they explain the service will be ad-free (yay!!) there's no word on subscription cost as of yet and whether or not you'll be subscribing to it all or can choose exactly what you want to see. If you're interested you can pre-register for beta access at the official Comic-Con HQ website which “will roll out across more connected devises in the months to come such as Roku, AppleTV and Xbox One, with additional devices and distribution platforms becoming available throughout the year.”
What do you think, is this something you'd pay for? Where do you currently consume your nerdy video content online?