I’m hoping to have a roundtable discussion of webcomics in 2009 up on the site later this month, but in the meantime I went back and looked at past ComixTalk roundtables (2007, 2006, 2005) to see how we all did with our predictions for the years to come. How’d we do?
- Tom Spurgeon on 2008: A general downturn in the economy combined with the further development of opportunities for traditional media sources on-line is going to have a drastic impact on on-line advertising sales for anyone not aligned with a major company. Tough times ahead.
- Heidi MacDonald on 2008: Some smart publisher is going to realize that webcomics are the next Garfield, and make lots of money for everyone. It is inevitable. I’m shocked that no one has been smart enough to see that yet.
- Michael Rouse-Deane on 2007: I think even more webcomics will venture into animation. I know some of them are dabbling in it at the moment. Also, even more so, webcomics will expand off the web and into print. So webcomics will become offline and animated. I think the next big milestone for a webcomic will be a TV series!
- Gillead Pellaeon on 2007: Last year I predicted people would be jealous of Tim Buckley and start making their own animations. And it happened. First with Blamimation, then a test episode of a VG Cats series, and now with PvP going to Blind Ferret. I also predicted more books, and that happened too. I didn’t foresee Penny Arcade going into video game development, but now that they have, look for others to follow suit (I’m thinking Ctrl+Alt+Del and VG Cats here).
- Alexander Danner on 2007: Something I do think we’ll see in the coming year is greater cooperation between the various technical service providers. For instance, it would be very lovely if users of WCN could simply click a check box to activate an account with RyanNorth’s OhNoRobot transcription and search service. There are a lot of services out there that are wonderful individually, but would be golden in combination.
- Doctor Setebos on 2006: Mainstream. As broadband creeps slowly into everyone’s homes, and online is everything, people will discover the popular webcomics. PvP and Penny Arcade will be on the forefront of the public onslaught. Journalists from respected newspapers and television news magazines will begin to write intelligent and eye-opening articles on webcomics that actually inform the public of this expansive entertainment industry that is growing daily right there on the internet. More services will be created/shifted to provide subscription webcomic content to the droves of readers that will begin to pour onto the webcomics community by next summer. More webcomics will be signed to those subscription services, and fans will cheer wildly as their favorite cartoonists finally reach the "big time".
- Bob Stevenson on 2006: I spent some time talking with a Nielson executive this fall (the tv ratings folks). He hadn’t considered the kind of traffic and market webcomics pull in or more importantly their narrow demographic. I’m not sure I convinced him it was worth any attention, but I’m thinking that some big companies may finally realize there’s an underexploited market in the making that’s worth throwing some money at. The cost to try something out on a large scale is just too low for someone not to. Sure, we comic creators have talked about how to reach a wider advertising market, but I think services like google adsense and the 360ep signings may have made some of us too passive on that front. Unless our efforts change drastically (they won’t), it’ll take some of the advertisers coming at webcomics to start realizing the potential on that front. Will it happen in 2006? How much is Rockstar Games paying Tycho and Gabe in 2005?