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August 26, 2007

Profile of Virgin Comics

The Mint has a profile of Virgin Comics Llc., a company co-founded by former MTV executive Sharad Devarajan and Gotham Chopra (and backed by author Deepak Chopra, filmaker Shekhar Kapur and Virgin Group’s Richard Branson), which is aiming to take Indian culture overseas via the comics route.
ACK (Amar Chitra Katha) books are popular with the Indian diaspora, but Virgin’s model is different—the company wants to make its comics, with Indian characters and others, successful in the US, the biggest market for English language comics in the world.

...And Virgin Comics’ revenues from these top sellers has been more than $600 million (Rs2,460 crore) for the 12 months of data available on ICv2 (it arrives at this number based on sales of these comics by Diamond US, a company that has had an exclusive distribution agreement with Virgin since January). More than half of those revenues came from the Devi, Snakewoman and Ramayan 3392 AD series. Devarajan would not disclose the closely-held company’s global revenues.

Virgin Comics has also been quick to realize the multimedia benefits of being in the comics business. Sadhu is being made into a motion picture starring Nicholas Cage. Virgin has alliances with India’s Jump Games Pvt. Ltd to create mobile games; Studio 18 to make horror movies; MySpace for a comic book platform that allows readers to create comics in partnership with some of the world’s best-known comics writers such as Carey; UTV Motion Pictures Plc. to create superhero franchises; and Sony Online Entertainment to produce games for the personal computer.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.