FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
P.O. Box 110
301 7th St. E
Cresbard, SD 57435
Phone: (605) 324-3332 or (toll-free) 1-888-KEENSPOT
FAX: (605) 324-3333
LAUNCHES NEWSPAPER COMICS PAGE
Sponsor-supported page of Keenspot comic features began running in Turlock, CA newspaper
Keenspot Entertainment, the most popular publisher of exclusive online comics since its launch in 2000, has announced the debut of the Keenspot Comics Page, an advertising-supported page of family-friendly Keenspot comic strip features that is being offered free for any newspaper to run on a non-exclusive basis. Starting on September 25th the page began running twice-weekly to an enthusiastic response in The Turlock Journal of Turlock, California, a newspaper in the 90-publication chain owned by Morris Newspaper Corporation (a division of Savannah, Georgia's Morris Multimedia Group).
"Keenspot has been fantastic to work with," said Brandon Bowers, The Turlock Journal's Managing Editor. "After budget constraints kept us from resuming our contracts with the syndicates, we're thrilled that we are able to offer our readers a comics page once again. The strips are hilarious and Chris Crosby and the others at Keenspot have been great about making sure the comics are appropriate for a family audience. The page is a hit with our readers and gives us another edge against our competition. On a personal note, I'm excited as a longtime Keenspot fan to be offering the cartoonists a new arena to showcase their work."
"Though Keenspot has been slowly developing a print syndication program over the past two years, the Keenspot Comics Page is an immediate response to the budget cutbacks strangling newspapers as of late and the fact that many have had to cut syndicated comics from their offerings due to the cost," said Chris Crosby, Keenspot Co-CEO. "When Brandon came to us with the Journal's problem, we were happy to solve it with the creation of this page. Comics are considered one of the few uniquely American artforms, not to mention one of the most popular parts of a newspaper according to reader polls. Allowing a newspaper to go without comics is downright un-American!"
With its line-up of more than 50 popular webcomics (many with existing web readerships in the hundreds of thousands per month) and stable of talented cartoonists, Keenspot is one of the few companies with the ability to quickly assemble a high quality, family-friendly newspaper comics page. While many Keenspot features could not be included due to their mature content and others due to their unusual size dimensions, 16 features were ultimately decided on for the page.
Eleven of those are existing Keenspot webcomics: Count Your Sheep by Adrian Ramos, Funny Farm by R. Smith, Lost & Found by Matt Milligan, Superosity by Chris Crosby, Greystone Inn by Brad Guigar, Roomies! by David Willis, Melonpool by Steve Troop, Nukees by Darren "Gav" Bleuel, Newshounds by Thomas K. Dye, Hound's Home by Ryan Duchane, and an all-ages version of You Damn Kid! (retitled You Darn Kid!) by Owen Dunne.
The remaining 5 are new features debuting in print on the Keenspot Comics Page: Sebo by Jamie Robertson (of Clan of the Cats), Ugly Hill by Paul Southworth (of Krazy Larry), Rumblestrip by Lee Adam Herold (of Chopping Block) and Roger Black, Odd Numbers by Bill Guida, and Abby's Agency by Tiffany Ross (of Alien Dice) and Mark Mekkes (of Zortic). The latter, Abby's Agency, is a back-up feature that will rotate throughout the page whenever a temporary replacement for a certain feature is needed.
"The first question people ask is, 'You're giving it away for free. How you gonna make money off this?'" says Crosby. "While we can't be sure we will make money off this endeavor, the plan is to do it the same way we primarily make money online: advertising revenues. The Turlock Journal, and any paper that will ultimately run our page, agrees to allow us to include our own advertisement at the top of our 11.625" x 18.5" space. If we can get into enough papers so that our circulation warrants it, the Keenspot Comics Page could be sponsored by Coca-Cola, or Nintendo, any advertiser wanting to reach a large national audience. Newspaper inserts like Parade and USA Weekend make hundreds of millions of dollars in profit per year the same way, basically. Getting a large circulation is the tricky part."
While Keenspot controls the sponsor space at the top of the page, space is also included at the bottom of the page for the participating paper to sell local advertising. "We will not compete with the newspaper for local advertisers," says Crosby. "Any advertising we sell will be aimed at a national audience. We understand that paper costs money and newspapers need to recoup that cost through their ad sales." Said Bowers: "One of the sports shops in Turlock, a shop that doesn't usually buy many ads, has agreed to sponsor the Keenspot page once every other week. It's a good start, and a good sign that advertisers seem to like the idea."
"Even if a newspaper is already running a page of comics, I don't see why they wouldn't at least want to try out ours in addition," said Crosby. "Readers put comics at the top of their list of reasons they buy a newspaper, and running the Keenspot Comics Page would double that paper's comics offerings at no cost. And our comics appeal to a younger audience, they're not the same strips that readers have been looking at in the paper for 50 years. I think editors would be crazy not to take us up on this. Though I'm obviously quite biased."
More information on the Keenspot Comics Page can be found at http://www.keenspot.com/comicspage or by phone toll-free 1-888-KEENSPOT.
ABOUT KEENSPOT ENTERTAINMENT
Based out of a 40,000 square foot former school building in Cresbard, South Dakota, Keenspot Entertainment (http://www.keenspot.com) is a multimedia entertainment company that publishes the work of thousands of comics creators. Keenspot.com, the company's central website tying together 50+ exclusive free webcomics comprising more than 30,000 pages of exclusive comics content, generates over 80 million impressions and 2.5 million visitors each month. Around 1,000 members have subscribed to Keenspot PREMIUM, a $4.95-a-month service that removes all ads from Keenspot sites. Keenspot's print comic-book publishing division has published 31 titles (including 9 paperback and 6 hardcover book collections) since launching in July 2001, and is distributed to the book trade exclusively by Client Distribution Services (CDS). Keenspace.com, Keenspot's free webhosting service open to all aspiring webcomic creators, hosts about 6,500 independent webcomics.