Wizard Launching CONtv Digital Network in 2015
2015 appears to be the year of direct-to-consumer TV network offerings, whether from established networks, movie studios, or specialty outlets (like the WWE, which sells its own network of nothing but decades of wrestling programming for $10 a month).
Now Wizard World has announced CONtv, planned to launch early this year as a digital network sold direct to consumers and geared towards “fans in the Comic Con community”. It’s a joint venture with independent content distributor Cinedigm. Programming will include “cult television, sci-fi, horror and fantasy films, grindhouse classics, thrilling martial arts adventures, and more”, with the following content acquired already:
· Superhero Action: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Voltron, Trial of the Incredible Hulk, She-Ra: Princess of Power
· Cult Classics: Godzilla, Death Race 2000, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Beware the Blob, Transylvania 6-5000, Night Patrol
· Horror: Evil Dead, Re-Animator, Hellraiser, I Spit on Your Grave (#1 and #2), Hellboy: Blood & Iron, Rob Zombie Presents The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, Ichi The Killer, Puppet Master, Embrace of the Vampire
· Martial Arts: Fists of Fury, Shaolin, Man From Nowhere, War of the Arrows, Legend of the Fist, Yakuza Weapon, Blade of Kings, Lady Ninja
· Gaming: Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, Stargate Infinity, Street Fighter Alpha, Heavenly Sword
· Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television: UK’s Being Human, Farscape, Highlander, Demon King, Stargate Infinity
· Anime: Yu-Gi-Oh, Beyblade, Digimon, Ghost in the Shell, High School of the Dead, Saint Seiya
They’ll also do original programming, such as the horror competition series Fight of the Living Dead, which will follow “nine YouTube stars as they work to survive the first 24-hours of a simulated zombie apocalypse.” Says CEO of Wizard World John Macaluso, “We are excited to offer fans a robust cross section of content curated especially for them. Clearly nobody knows the comic community better than our staff — we’ve got the most rabid fans amidst our own ranks shaping CONtv’s content offering.”
The network will be available for a subscription fee of $6.99 a month “with content exclusives, audience rewards, [and] a dynamic second-screen experience”, or as a “free ad-supported platform” on Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, and Android. They also plan to offer “ticketing bundle opportunities for fans planning to attend Wizard World conventions.” (I can imagine X months for free being offered as part of their high-ticket VIP packages.) Those interested in being kept informed can sign up for a newsletter at their website.