Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Contagious Comics...BitStrips at DemoCamp Toronto

It was a busy evening with DemoCamp and the OurFaves party taking place in Toronto last night.

There were some interesting presentations given at DemoCamp 18 ranging from serious programming innovation to fun applications with great potential to develop into solid businesses. I had the opportunity to delve into a bit of detail on BitStrips, one of the businesses that from my perspective, stood out with great direction and fun.

BitStrips was launched launched four months ago at South by Southwest. It’s a platform developed by an animator that allows anyone to create comic strips and share them online. The service is fast, easy and free providing its community of over 20,000 registered users with instant gratification and one day…maybe, its advertisers with a viral communications platform.

Jesse Brown manages the marketing and communications for BitStrips and presented their newly released “Comic Canon” application last night at DemoCamp. The application was designed to further streamline the comic strip building process so that it could be done much easier and virtually on the fly. The next big launch will be a FaceBook application, which will allow users to exchange comic strips within the social network.

I caught up with Jesse later on at the OurFaves event at the Gladstone. On the subject of media, Jesse mentioned that part of the core strategy is to tread carefully on the commercialization of the site. Smart move I believe, as the site is truly designed around the consumer experience and is enjoying a great trajectory as a commercial-free product. “Junking up the environment” would probably be a bad call. The most obvious alternative media revenue generating opportunity for the site would be product placement. Jesse noted that BitStrips is working hard to keep up with the hundreds of requests for new props and above all, clothing items available to construct the millions of strips that are released from the platform each month.

From a potential media perspective, here are some current facts about the site:
  • 20,000 registered users
  • 60,000 unique users per month
  • 4 million page views per month (on-site & distributed content)
  • Average of 14 minutes spent per user
  • Average 10 page views per user
  • 1.5 million page views distributed outside of its platform per month
Aside from the fabulous potential for product placement opportunities in the media world, the potential for BitStrips to bridge the gap between online and offline media is marvelous. The thought of user-generated offline media could provide some much needed comfort to the space and the entertaining vehicle that BitStrips provides, makes the bridge all that much more fun to anticipate.

It was nice to see a start-up with so much potential as a business, have so much fun on its way to inevitable success (one way or another).