With a brand new hire to its digital media group, and several recent trademark filings for the intellecual propety "Blip.com", it appears that Marvel Entertainment may be planning something big within the digital realm. And while most comic book companies are focused on expanding their digital publishing efforts, it looks like Marvel may be working on something a little broader — something that may share a name with a 30-year-old video game magazine.
Friday, Marvel announced the appointment of Peter Phillips to the newly created position of Senior Vice President & General Manager, Digital Media. Phillips most recently worked for software company LivePerson, and has previous product development and marketing experience with Fandango and Paramount Pictures.According to a Friday press release announcing the hiring, in the new role Phillips will "work alongside Dan Buckley, Publisher & President of the Print, Animation & Digital Divisions, Marvel Worldwide, Inc., to build on Marvel’s success in digital publishing, social networking and its online presence Marvel.com." “Marvel continues to break new ground in the digital realm, from our unique content on Marvel.com to our exciting digital comics initiatives, and we’re ready to take it all to the next level," Phillips is quoted in the announcement. "Trust me, True Believers, the best is yet to come." On June 14, 2011, Marvel filed eight separate trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for something called "Blip" — specifically, four for "Blip" and four for "Blip.com." In the filings, Blip is described as an "Internet website portal featuring social networking opportunities, applications, computer games and links to other websites for the purpose of social networking." Creation of a dedicated social network would be an expansion of Marvel's existing online efforts. The company has more than 2 million likes on its official Facebook page, and more than 150,000 followers on Twitter.
Currently, the domain name "Blip.com" is registered to Richie Waite at Marvel's west-coast office in Manhattan Beach, California. Fusible, a website that tracks trademarks and domain names, picked up on the news, reporting that the domain was formerly held by Future Publishing Ltd."Blip" is an old name in the world of Marvel. It was the title of a short-lived video game magazine released by the publisher in 1983, and is currently being used by the Twitter account associated with their video games division, MarvelBlip. Marvel.com declined to comment on the "Blip" trademark registrations at this time.
On Thursday, July 21 at this year's Comic-Con International: San Diego, Marvel's scheduled a panel that may give more clues to the company's digital future. At 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., "Marvel Digital: What's Next?! Comics...and Beyond!" will feature the publisher's digital staff discussing "digital comics, casual games, original streaming video productions, social media outreach, and the future of Marvel's ever-expanding digital endeavors."
It's currently unclear when or even if an official announcement on the exact nature of "Blip" will be made, but evidence from the trademark filings suggests that it's a social network involving online gaming, and with high-profile hires like Phillips, it's possible that we'll be hearing much more about Marvel's digital efforts in the coming weeks and months.
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