New Yorker Cartoons Hit the Web, Animated and Ad-Supported

The New Yorker has a long tradition of publishing cartoons in a print environment. Now a firm called RingTales is bringing them to life online and on mobile devices in animated, ad-supported form.

RingTales has formed a partnership with the magazine to access the nearly 100,000 cartoons in its cartoon bank database, which the company is then animating and offering to consumers in podcast format. The animated cartoons are available online at Newyorker.com, or as podcasts through iTunes.

The goal of RingTales is to create an online version of newspaper-style comics pages that will be available online and fully ad-supported with post-roll commercials, according to Jim Cox, CEO of RingTales.

“The main objective has always been for them to be ad-supported and syndicated across the Internet. So they would remain free gifts of humor for the viewers,” said Cox. “This is content [advertisers] can be assured is popular… and they can piggy back their message. It’s an effective way to get beyond the :30 commercial.”

RingTales has yet to name specific advertisers, but is in talks with several. Michael Fry, president of RingTales, said since the New Yorker database of cartoons is so large, RingTales can select cartoons that will fit potential advertisers’ needs.

“The New Yorker brand is well known amongst a certain demographic, the demographic that likes nice cars and nice things,” said Fry. “We’re also negotiating with other comics. We want to cover all genres so we can offer content to advertisers that will fit the demographic they are going after.”

As the animations are short, and the original cartoonists are accustomed to creating material that is available in a small frame, the cartoons are well suited for distribution using RSS feeds or on mobile devices, said Fry, and are usually watched to completion.

“Our content is so short that the opt-out for the viewer is fairly nonexistent,” Fry said. “The size of the content also lends itself to fitting into many other media. They look great on cell phones. It’s coming from an artwork that always had the discipline of fitting into a small square.”

Both Fry and Cox have a long history in the comics world. Fry created the comic strip “Over the Hedge,” which was made into a Dreamworks film last year and co-produced by Cox.

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