A candid and personal examination of the Philippine comics scene from a social, cultural, economic and business point of view.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Update on celfones as a possible venue for digital comics

The celfone business in the country is reaching its saturation point. According to the article "Cellfone Business Slows Down" appearing in the August 15-29 2005 issue of BizNews, there are now approximately 42.8 million celfone users in a country of about 54 million adults aged 18 to 60.

What to do? Soon, demand for celfone services will bottom out. It is foreseen that celfone companies may soon go back to offering free text services in order to maintain their clientele and though the amount of revenue will not be as much, minimum competitive charges will be imposed on calls in order to maintain a respectable business. How then to nurture and generate more business and increase celfone usage?

The news article states that market observers are of the opinion that with the advent of mobile telephony (television on celfones) on the fourth generation of celfones, celfone companies are now focusing on acquiring, among others, local television stations in order to provide short news flashes in the future. This and other "possible content" may also be in the offing.

It is in fact, rumored that PLDT is intent on getting GMA 7 but that the latter's asking price was too high. Channels 9 and 13 are also being eyed.

To allow some speculation at this point, digital comics by Filipinos could be an alternative content provider if this develops any further. In this new hi-tech scenario, the new publishers would be celfone/tv stations. It will be a whole new playing field wherein the comics publisher of the future would either have to set-up a mobile telephony company, or directly through his computer, feed his digital comics content directly to the celfone user.

But why stop at celfones? If the facilities of tv stations will be used to broadcast digital comics, why not do it directly to television screens? Can you imagine those big theatre-type plasma screens showing Filipino digital comics? A program or better yet, a whole channel devoted to Filipino digital comics is not too remote to consider.

Too many possibilities.


Blogger Jonas Diego said...

Love your topic!

We're actually set to launch our line of comics under SMART (featuring several local creators). We should find out within a few months just how viable this venture is for comic book creators.

In the US, mobile comics has been around for about 1-2 years but it was only recently that it started picking up steam. They recently generated a gross of about US$ 1M and my projections say that it's only going to get bigger in the years ahead.

Sony, in fact just recently announced that it also plans to gon into publishing mobile comics. They hired 30 popular manga artists to produce coics for them.

Off hand I'd say that the future looks good for mobile comics coming from a comic book creator who also works as a marketing specialist for a mobile content provider. :)

1:56 PM

Blogger aklas isip said...

I hope you guys succeed in your venture. I really do. The comics medium really needs the right kind of "positive" exposure right now.

Questions: the comics creator is paid by SMART at a one time basis or do the comics creators get paid directly by the cellfone user? It would be really great if its the latter the scenario.

See? If individuals today have less purchasing power, its the "propaganda reeking corporations" who have the money to help comics medium (and creators) move.

I'm watching the news right now about this new development and I will make an entry soon on what I've gathered.

The other thing I'm really excited about (besides home service laundry reaching our subdivision) is the possibility of inactive cable stations with franchises, taking on comics in Filipino digital format.

If we could have the right content and LOTS of them, I wouldn't be surprised if we get desperate and open-minded corporate sponsors waiting in the wings ready to give Filipino digital komix creators a cable station or channel one day, a kind of "cartoon network" for Filipino komix.

Now if only those jaded "globalized" kids out there would clean up their act a bit...:)

9:49 PM

Blogger Jonas Diego said...

We get paid by the users themselves. Specifically a percentage of the net which as you must know is ridiculous in the Philippines.

I mean in other countries, telcos get 30% of the pie with the producers getting the rest. Here, it's the telcos getting 70% and the producers get the 30%.

Still, with the creators getting paid by the users themselves it offers a better chance for us to make more moeny as compared if it was a one time payment deal. Plus with us retaining copyrights to the content, assuming the strips become a hit, we stand to make further income by running printed compilations and other merchandize.

Several other players are coming into the field but so far the current group I'm running offer the best deal in terms of profit sharing.

I hope to be able to write a feature on this in my blog about the whole experience.

12:37 PM


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