Skip to main content

Publishers Weekly Has Story on Platinum Financials

Good story (with some holes) on Platinum's possibly shaky finances.  We get to learn a lot about Platinum because it's a public company.  Other publishers and larger quasi-publisher like companies like Keenspot that are private - we don't learn anything other than what the owners tell us, which isn't usually much.

Key facts?  Platinum is clearly spending money -- but is it making any regular income?  Platinum lost MORE than 5 million in 2007 and had less than $5000 dollars in cash on hand at the beginning of this year.

Platinum also points to a library of 5600 characters in its IP portfolio as having been recently valued at "about $150 million:" by a firm called Sanli Pastore & Hill, Inc.  However, only two Platinum properties are currently under option for films: Unique at Disney and Cowboys & Aliens at Dreamworks.  I'm really curious about this 150 million number -- what is it based on (and how many of the 5600 characters are recognizable to the public in any meaningful manner?) and how much of it is actually realized versus theoretical.


Re: Publishers Weekly Has Story on Platinum Financials

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I recognize that some people think work-for-hire is evil by definition. I don't like work-for-hire for projects with a few creators (I can more easily see the benefit of a work-for-hire approach for a film for example where there are a large number of creators involved in the process) but that's not why I'm interested in the quote from the interview I've pasted in below:

What has been unfortunate in all of this is that Platinum has been portrayed as the evil corporation “stealing” his creation, but, by the way, even DJ, the creator, isn’t saying that. By his words and ours, in winning our Comic Book Challenge, he willingly sold all underlying rights to his property to Platinum and voluntarily signed a work-for-hire agreement.  As the winner of the CBC, he received a contract at the top of the industry pay scale to produce 4 issues of the Hero By Night comic.  But we saw that there was potential beyond the initial comic series.  In fact, we have touted it as being the “poster child” for the expanded business model in the company.  In addition to the original 4-issue series, we also contracted DJ and his team to deliver over 100 pages of the Hero By Night journals which we put up on Drunk Duck.  We built an online casual game, created 3D webcam avatars, offered a special edition for Free Comic Book Day, published a trade paperback, commissioned an additional 6-issue series, created HBN t-shirts and pitched the property as a film and television property.  When all is said and done, we paid over $200,000 in direct costs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in internal costs to support this property and promote it and DJ.  In fact, of those expenditures, we paid DJ in excess of $90,000 over the past 20 months. And our revenues from all of our efforts?  Let’s just say it was less than a 15% return.  And DJ felt we didn’t do enough to promote and market the property, an argument every publisher hears from creators.

Did they do all of this work with HBN to make money on an ongoing basis (and possibly just fail at that proposition if they did not in fact make money on it) or did they spend all of that money solely with the hopes of making HBN a flashier lottery ticket, so to speak.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.