Last month Comic-Con International announced Comic-Con HQ, a new streaming service run by Comic-Con and Lionsgate that will officially launch in June.
Comic-Con HQ app General Manager Seth Laderman said, “We’re going to be working with every single studio, every single panel host to be able to take the content and put it on our platform. We’re not going to be live streaming anything because we really don’t want to take away that experience of people who are the first to see and be there for it, but we can put things up shortly after.”
Anybody who has ever attended San Diego Comic-Con International in previous years will know how hard it can be to get into Hall H panels, especially with the long hours and lines of queuing for the most popular panels. However in my experience if you just want the Hall H experience then I recommended going on Sunday, after the Supernatural panel one year, I simply walked in with hardly any queuing involved. Sadly the same can’t be said on Thursday, Friday and Saturday when studio networks host panels for the following years biggest films and TV shows.
The streaming service would provide an opportunity for those who couldn’t get into Hall H or those who couldn’t get a Comic-Con International badge to be able to watch in their own time shortly after the panel itself has happened. However it is great to hear that they are keeping any exclusive footage they show to only those who attended the panel in person. After all it just wouldn’t be fair to attendees who queued up all night and to press who traveled a long distance to have nothing to show for it.
In the short term this seems like a brilliant idea but I wonder how it will affect the future of Comic-Con International in the long term and their relationships with the studio networks. After all the only things left queuing up for Hall H panels would be for the exclusive footage,to see the celebrities in person and to be the first to see the panel albeit for a short while anyway. Will studio networks still be willing to pay to bring their talent to travel all the way to San Diego Comic-Con International just to show exclusive footage to a lucky few thousand in Hall H, especially when the panels themselves will be made available online shortly thereafter? For example with next years D23 taking place a week before San Diego Comic-Con International 2017, is there still a need for Disney, Marvel and Star Wars to even be at Comic-Con International when they can premiere their exclusive footage and announcements from their own Disney convention?
With the cost of rent increasing in San Diego over the past years and to the point when even studio networks could no longer afford to host parties or even parties like they used to during San Diego Comic-Con International, it begs the question even further to studios networks if being at SDCC is even cost effective anymore. For example last year Wired Cafe was limited from a three day to a one day event after losing HBO as a sponsor. If studio networks don’t think SDCC is cost effective anymore then they will simply move on to other conventions such as New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, CinemaCon and SXSW.
In previous years San Diego Comic-Con International was the place to be to showcase your new films and TV shows, the studio networks didn’t care about expense as they wanted to be the best. However fast forward to now in the modern age of social media,with last years leaking of exclusive Comic-Con trailers and now a Comic-Con streaming service, I do worry about what the future holds for Comic-Con International. If exclusive trailers can be leaked at Comic-Con International but not at CinemaCon, it begs the question to studio networks, is it even worth showing exclusive trailers at Comic-Con International if it will get leaked anyway? Studio networks prefer to keep the suspense for as long as possible, with only the word of mouth from those who’d seen the exclusive trailers to wet the appetite of those who haven’t. However if Comic-Con International can’t keep things exclusive then showcasing those exclusive trailers at other conventions becomes an all too real possibility.
Although since they are partnering up with the studio Lionsgate to create the Comic-Con HQ streaming service it does guarantee that at least Lionsgate will remain to showcase their exclusive footage and announcements at San Diego Comic-Con International. Even then one has to wonder how long the contract lasts between the two because that could affect their future relationship in terms of the Hall H panels.
However I will say that the fact that they are going to be live from Free Comic Book Day on May 7 with free and unlimited CCHQ access in the lead up to San Diego Comic-Con International could be their saving grace as we will get to see what CCHQ will be like before the main event. Their partnership with Lionsgate means we could get to see exclusive interviews as well leading up to and during SDCC 2016. While it will also provide exclusive content and interviews in the lead up to and during SDCC, it will also be directly competing with other studio networks including Syfy who will be doing exactly the same thing but with their own network shows. By the way for those interested Syfy will be offering SDCC attendees the opportunity to attend the live tapings of their shows during SDCC at San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina, most likely in their newly built event space with a capacity to hold 3718 people. Syfy have yet to release details on how to acquire tickets for the live tapings.
Maybe it could all be potentially a good thing especially if more and more studio networks come to SDCC to host their own streaming service of exclusive content and interviews from SDCC. It could go beyond Comic-Con HQ, Syfy, Conan, Nerdist, NerdHQ etc. All of downtown San Diego could be host to multiple studio networks streaming, live tapings etc during SDCC.
I love Comic-Con International and would love for it to remain in San Diego for many years to come, beyond 2018, however I do worry about how this new streaming service could potentially affect its future in terms of the Hall H panels.
What do you think of Comic-Con HQ? Let us know in the comments below.
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