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Disney buys CrossGen!

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Disney Snaps Up Comic Book Publisher

Mon Nov 15, 3:07 AM ET Entertainment - Reuters Industry


By Marla Matzer Rose


LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In a deal it hopes will produce a trove of new properties to exploit across various media, Walt Disney Co. has bought the assets of CrossGen Entertainment, a comic book publisher whose fantasy and sci-fi titles include "Abadazad," "Mystic" and "Route 666."


Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition of the more than two dozen titles comes as Disney is set to launch a TV series in the United States based on "W.I.T.C.H.," a comic magazine for tween girls that debuted in 2001 in Italy. Disney says "W.I.T.C.H." is now the fourth-largest magazine in the world in terms of international editions. Books based on the property are published in 20 countries; the animated TV show will debut on U.S. TV as part of Disney's "Jetix" block on Toon Disney and ABC Family early next year.


"Publishing is really an incubator of new content," Disney Publishing president Deborah Dugan said. "We said girls 10-12 are big readers, why not comics? That's how ('W.I.T.C.H.') started."


Disney owns about half of the nonmanga comic book business worldwide, though Dugan said that the vast majority of sales are outside the United States. But she added that low sales in the States are more a "distribution and content issue" that Disney will try to address in ways including targeting potential readers with compelling content and selling to schools by offering teachers a program to encourage reading through comic books.


Dugan said there are numerous possibilities for exploiting Tampa, Fla.-based CrossGen's 26 titles, which run the gamut from tween-oriented fantasy to edgier fare for young adults.


"We're not shying away from the more adult titles," Dugan said. "We have Miramax Books and other possible outlets for that."


One of the first ways Disney may look to use the characters is in online content that can be customized to fit users' specific interests and likes. She said CrossGen has some technology that could jump-start these efforts in conjunction with Disney's Internet group.


"With our creative teams, we're looking at each one (of the properties) and deciding the best format and the distribution to get it into the hands of kids," Dugan said.



Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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Good news!


But will they really invest in publishing like CrossGen did themselves? confused-smiley-013.gif CrossGen's heart and soul was in printed comics, but Disney just looks at it like this:


"Publishing is really an incubator of new content," Disney Publishing president Deborah Dugan said.


Based upon this comment and the rest of the article talking about the television properties they're hoping to get out of CrossGen, it sounds like they may not be looking at comics as a viable profit-making industry unto itself, they could be looking at them as a way to develop great stories, concepts, and characters more cheaply by "trying them out" in comics as opposed to the more costly media of television and film.


You've gotta wonder how long that can last as a business model... 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

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