GoComics and FunMail
Submitted by michaelwhitney on August 10, 2004 - 14:26
USA Today ran a new article about GoComics, the company that's delivering comic strips to cell phones that's been mentioned here before. There's now a competing company called FunMail. (And if anything guarantees hilarity, it's putting "fun" right in the name of your company.)
In the article, the CEOs from both companies claim they're breaking even, despite high startup costs. The FunMail CEO says they're "comfortably profitable." It may be good news -- they're "reteaching" people to pay for online comics, more or less -- but I think it says more about the lack of content for cell phones than the universal allure of syndies. After the news and the weather, what can you get formatted for your cell right now? Very little.
So people with shiny silver devices connected to a worldwide information network have almost nothing to read. They're willing to pay a little bit for a known quantity like today's "Dilbert" because it's either that or they can try to play a Tetris clone using the menu buttons. The platform is still primitive. When RSS readers become a standard part of cell phone software, things may get more "interesting."
I'd like to think, though, that there's a window here for someone smart to come along and make something that will fill those tiny, hungry screens in a more satisfying way. Syndies may be known quantities, but they're still mild offerings. A decent comic, designed with the format in mind, with a free preview might just be able to break sales resistance, since there's almost nothing else available. If Garfield can make it there...