Over at the Huffington Post, Archie co-CEO Jon Goldwater explains why his company is, in his words, “the most progressive comic book publisher out there”:
I saw firsthand what happened to the music industry when they didn’t embrace digital, and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen to Archie. Unlike most direct market-centric comic companies, Archie has always been about being available. On the newsstand. In comic shops. In bookstores. So it made sense to translate that philosophy to digital, both in availability in timing. Despite what some other companies may claim, we were the first to go day-and-date digital, which means our titles are available to digital consumers the same day they hit stores. We also believe in a different pricing model for digital than print.We were one of the first companies to aggressively put out collections and expanded product out there digitally. Our Archie Comics app, which is powered by the team at iVerse, has been downloaded close to 4 million times, and our comics are routinely among the most downloaded titles. Just last year in San Diego, we announced plans to launch the first-ever digital superhero universe with our Red Circle Comics app. The app will be a newsstand app via Apple. The shorthand we use is “Netflix for comics.” Each week, a subscriber will get six pages of our flagship title, NEW CRUSADERS, plus access to our continually-growing archive of Crusaders comics dating back to the Golden Age of comics.
In addition to that, we were the first company to make Spanish-language editions of our titles available to our Spanish-speaking readers, and we’ve just launched a Facebook app – in partnership with our friends at Graphicly – to sell Archie comics to our Facebook fans. Currently, we have over 116,000 fans on our main Archie page, growing significantly each day.
Digital is important for a number of reasons. Mainly, we’re always looking for ways to expand and grow the business. Archie is a global icon and one of the most recognizable brands anywhere. It’d be foolish to just limit ourselves to our existing distribution channels. We want Archie to be available to everyone everywhere. We want to create a one-stop shop — an Archie “superstore” that’ll serve everyone’s needs. That’s the goal. Digital is part of that over-arching plan.
When you factor in things like Kevin Keller being the first gay male lead for an ongoing solo series from a non-underground publisher – demonstrating that it’s not only in distribution that Archie is forward thinking – then it starts to seem like a much more convincing argument, doesn’t it…?