Premium cable network Starz Media has a new iPhone application and online comic books as part of its promotion strategy for its upcoming original series "Spartacus."
I sat down with Marc DeBevoise, Starz's senior VP of digital media, at the Consumer Electronics Show last week to talk about the content company's digital plans for 2010.
Earlier this week, Starz introduced an iPhone game in support of the Jan. 22 premiere of "Spartacus" and has also released motion comics to promote the new series, DeBevoise said. "We made a comic book that is a physical comic rolled out in stores across the country. We then pulled the pieces out, lightly animated the comic, put some voice-over and some great music and made it a motion comic" he said. Starz is rolling it out in electronic sell-through platforms. As such, the comic serves a promotional role and revenue-generating one as well.
In fact, comics will likely play a larger role in Starz's toolset. Starz announced it's investment in Graphic.ly, a Colorado-based company that is aiming to be the iTunes for the digital comic business, DeBevoise said. Graphic.ly will introduce its commerce platform and reader for online comic books in the coming weeks, he said.
Starz has been aggressive in pushing out its owned, distributed, and original content through many alternative platforms, including iTunes, XBox, PlayStation, Hulu, and YouTube. This year, DeBevoise said he'll be fine-tuning that strategy to focus on the platforms generating the best return for Starz. That may include the rumored Apple iSlate, a tablet device Apple is expected to launch later this month.
"We think it's a great opportunity for our video products and we are excited about selling content on that," he said.
Update: In other Starz news, Bloomberg News reports that Disney may block Starz from streaming some films on Netflix.
Daisy Whitney, Senior Producer