King Features Launches Online ‘Comics Kingdom’

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By: Joe Strupp

King Features Syndicate is launching a new service that allows Web sites to link to some 60 daily comic strips online and split ad revenue from the venture.

Comics Kingdom, described as “a first-of-its-kind digital platform” allows newspapers online access to 60 of the syndicate’s strips, including “Zits,” “Mutts,” “Blondie,” “Beetle Bailey” and “Hagar the Horrible.”

Newspapers will share revenue with King Features and have 30-day access to each strip’s archive. The new service also allows users to share comics, comment, and employ other interactive tools.

“We are building a community aspect to the site,” John Soppe, managing director of King Digital, tells E&P. “We are trying to build the type of tools that allow more interactive use.”

The syndicate has already signed up the likes of The Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Times-Union of Albany, N.Y.

?For almost 100 years, King Features Syndicate has assisted newspapers in attracting new readers and incremental ad revenue by providing appealing, premium content,” T.R. ?Rocky? Shepard III, president of King Features Syndicate, said in a release. “As our newspaper partners face new challenges in the ever-changing media landscape, we are continually looking to develop innovative ways to help them reach their business goals — which still remain the same as ever: attracting new readers and driving ad sales.?

King Features also says that the portal allows access to the strips, but keeps online users on the client’s site. “It is very important to them, from a branding standpoint, to keep people on their site,” Soppe added.

Says Patti Hart, interactive general manager for Timesunion.com: ?We are always looking for new ways to bring more readers online and when we saw Comics Kingdom we were enthusiastic about the product. During our beta test we found that Comics Kingdom increased traffic and brought a new audience to Timesunion.com. We were pleased to be the first site to beta test and would recommend the product to other online publishers.?

More information on the service can be found here.


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