Orange Radius unboxes a new business model with Dialogboxx

No one can oppose to the fact that India has a rich and varied culture which has been time and again narrated beautifully by tonnes of people. Continuing that tradition, comic creators have used comics as a medium to narrate not just age old tales but have also put their imagination on paper (or on digital platforms) to convey their thoughts dramatically. Though comic is one of the most effective storytelling medium, it’s not been explored to its true potential. There are few well established players in the comic industry like Amar Chitra Katha, Raj Comics, Diamond Comics who have produced some amazing content over the years but apart from them, we have handful of comic publishers. As this industry is very niche, the problem it is currently facing is that they are restricting themselves and aren’t exploring other channels via which they can sustain in the comic market. dialogboxx logoBut this scenario is slowly changing and few publishers are tapping the untapped markets, and one such publisher is Orange Radius. Orange Radius, which was started back in 2013 by Raveesh Mohan, has till date given out seven issues within the span of 18 months and have recently ventured into creating comics for corporates under the name – Dialogboxx. We got in touch with the Orange Radius’ marketing, strategy and client management personnel, Priyank Loonker who shares more details about Dialogboxx and what’s happening with Orange Radius. The first question that pops in one’s mind is why did they venture into producing comics for corporates, to which he replied, “Comic is a storytelling medium. But unlike mediums like blog, films, radio, photography, it has one of the lowest consumption in India with no fault of the medium itself. If we can tell epic superhero stories then there is no reason why we can’t use it to create top class branded content. Why isn’t it being used for business communications is another story.
Comic book created for Clean & Clear by Dialogboxx
Comic book created for Clean & Clear by Dialogboxx
Our assumption was that there are not enough comic makers extending their services. So, we intended to fill this gap by offering a whole range of new age formats using principles of comic making.” Yes, we got PepperScript Comics (SAB ke comicsChennaiyin FC) as well which produces comics for corporates but they cater solely to the corporate industry whereas Orange Radius along with corporate comics have their own original content as well. Talking about their business model, he explains, “We are a creative service agency. We offer end to end services from strategic storytelling and character ideation to delivery of final creatives. We offer multiple formats right from comic strips to longform webcomics and animated videos. While every creative is customised according to each client’s brief, we have standardised the pricing and the process to ensure complete reliability of timelines, assurance of high quality, consistent alignment with client expectations and maintenance of transparency.” The client servicing arm will be called Dialogboxx whereas Orange Radius will be the inhouse publishing arm. It has been only a year since they have started providing these services to their clients and have managed to bring in some high profile clients like Hector Beverages (makers of Paperboat), Clean & Clear, Benadryl, Mahindra & Mahindra, CNBC, Asian Paints, CoverFox, Amdocs, Birla Sun life, SWaCH ( Wastepickers Co-op) and a few startups that have been recently added in their kitty. Though they create the comics right from the scratch, Dialogboxx doesn’t hold any IP rights of the characters. They are completely owned by the corporates and as for the availability of comics; they are with the corporates and are not available in the market. Along with Priyank Loonker, the company has three dedicated team members who handle the daily operations. While founder Raveesh Mohan manages the production and finance of the company, Tarun Kumar Sahu works as the senior illustrator/inker with senior colourist Mitali Panganti. Along with these four core members, according to the projects and expertise required, the team works closely with some of the best comic illustrators in country like Anupam Arunachalam, Sharon Jacob, Vijay Parulekar and a few others. When asked Priyank what’s their strong point, he expounds, “Execution! We pride ourselves at producing high quality stuff without any slack. Both Raveesh and I come from Project management background and we apply it in our operations. We make quick decisions, remain top of the things and always take alignments where it is needed.”
Dialogboxx team
From left: Raveesh Mohan, Priyank Loonker, Tarun Kumar Sahu and Mitali Panganti
One of the major concerns for independent comic creators and publishers is revenue generation as India has a niche market and most of the comics are sold only during the Comic Cons. Following this kind of business model wherein they are not only creating self published comics but also comics for corporates, is a good way to continue with one’s passion without having to worry about the revenue. On being asked how financially beneficial is it for them to produce corporate comic as compared to original comic, “Massively. They have not just helped us remain afloat, we are now considering expansion into multiple domains of visual content. At the same time, creating inhouse comic is always a huge satisfaction because they come out of your inner drive.” As for what’s happening with Orange Radius since it’s been long since we saw the launch of any new issue, Priyank reassures, “We produced 7 Issues (6 in Parshu and 1 Blindspot) within first 18 months. This is close to 400 pages of comic content, almost unprecedented with the recent comic startups. But producing and selling comics is a resource intensive business and we are still recovering money of our present inventory. As of now we plan to come out with a graphic novel format on Parshu itself. The idea is to create a Big Bang vs. smaller impact comic series. It might happen by the end of this year.” 2015 has been a good year for the company and the team is immensely satisfied with the creativity. He further adds, “We have managed to create Popout books for kids, animated videos to educate about financial literacy, comic based gamified apps, motivational comics, explanatory comics and so much more which we could never have if we had stuck to pure publishing business.” Talking about the Indian comic industry Priyank says, “At the end of the day comics are character entertainment. If you have to succeed at it and make serious money, it’s still a long shot. One can’t even call it an industry yet, if you remove Raj comics and Amar Chitra Katha from the equation. The game is disproportionately biased against their survival. I am very interested to see how Graphic India performs in coming years, and if at all it is able to build a mass market character franchise.” Lastly stressing on storytelling, Priyank adds, “The industry can improve by good and meaningful storytelling. Right now the creators are focused a lot on the spectacle, which simply shows lack of maturity. Why will the buyer pay you 200 rupees is a question every comic creator should ask themselves with complete honesty. They are not here to buy your art but an honest to bones, good old storytelling that gives them a unique worldview even helping them identify their inner struggles. I think what Shamik has achieved with Taranath Tantrik is what needs to be done more regularly by more creators. And this will only happen if more seasoned writers with gumption to experiment enter into comics.”Dialogboxx Orange Radius team