Thursday, February 08, 2007

Miscellany: 8 February

- Now here's a really bizarre business plan: Sky are launching a small pay-TV presence on Freeview. We've known this for a while. Obviously the plan is to use this to try and convince Freeview owners of the joys of subscription television. But, first, they're going to include Sky News in the package. A channel that everyone currently gets for free. What's the point of that? Who's going to pay money to get Sky News when they'll still have BBC News 24? Alright, it's a perfectly decent channel, but it's hardly a unique selling point.

And two, it's not going to be compatible with any of the existing Freeview set-top boxes. Of which there are 9.3 million. Thus, limiting the potential market to people who are so excited about pay TV that they want to buy a new set-top box, but not excited enough that they want to subscribe to Sky.

This doesn't sound like a terribly clever plan to me. Am I missing something?

- Paul Jenkins writes a truly odd column reacting to the overwhelmingly negative response to his Civil War: The Return one-shot, providing us with an unexpected nostalgic throwback to the defensiveness of Chuck Austen. Then he shows up on page five of the comments thread to back away sharpish.

It's certainly one of the most misjudged columns I've read from a comics professional in a quite a while; if you've just produced one of the worst-received comics of the year (by the critics, the mainstream message board posters, the shop owners... pretty much everyone), it's really not a good idea to write a column that seems to be dismissing all criticism as coming from the maniac fringe.

- Meanwhile, Ultimates 2 #13 moves even further into the "Does anyone still care?" category, as Marvel push it back to April. Issue #12, you may recall, came out last September - so we're now looking at a seven-month gap between two issues.

It's largely forgotten now thanks to the passage of time, but the launch of Ultimates 2 was delayed by eight months, expressly so that the series would come out monthly. Issue #1 came out in December 2004, so by the time this series finishes, it will be running one year four months late, despite the lead-in. What the hell have the creative team been up to?