Narr8, a publisher of motion comics and other digital content on tablets, is launching on the Amazon Kindle Fire on Tuesday. The company takes paper-based comics and brings them to life in a digital world using the easy user interface of touchscreen tablets. It is the latest platform to take advantage of the free-to-play business model, where users play for free and pay real money for extras.
Narr8′s content includes motion comics, where users can tap the screen to see animated sequences, as well as interactive fiction and nonfiction. The company has more than 700,000 from its previous launches on the iPad (where it got 200,000 downloads in the first two weeks) in November, and more recently on Android. The app hit “top free entertainment” downloads in Apple’s web site, and it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Play. The digital content aims to capture users who are making the shift from paper entertainment to tablet entertainment.
Narr8′s content is available in four languages and has stories from a variety of genres. The app stories include fluid animations, original music, and interactive features. Narr8 is also introducing updates today for its iPad and Android versions that include an in-app purchase system. Users can unlock episodes of content after they try the initial offerings for free. This kind of business model has worked out well in games and it will be interesting to see if it works with motion comics and other media.
“We are very excited to be launching on Amazon devices. As one of the leading eBook reading devices, we know the importance of being compatible to Amazon products, especially Kindle Fire,” said Alexander Vaschenko president and founder at Narr8, in a statement.
The company hopes to be a bridge between the analog world — of TV, comics, movies and books — and digital content on tablets. The Moscow-based company shares investors with Russia’s mobile firm, Game Insight, which is helping Narr8 get exposure on mobile devices. Narr8 is a single platform form users to log in and enjoy different content, including games, educational material, digital videos, and more. Users can purchase Narr8 currency, dubbed NARRs, in order to buy content or unlock additional content. The first two episodes of every series will be free, and users can pay for more content. The Narr8 motion comics also have a new autoplay feature, which lets a user continuously stream episodes of motion comics with one tap.
Narr8 will let users accrue a weekly bonus of 120 NARRs per week. One new episode will cost 100 NARRs, which can also be purchased for 99 cents. Users can buy bundles of 100, 300, 500, or 1,000 NARRs. These features are available in Russia, English-speaking countries, and a variety of others.
So far, the most popular content includes Jam, Secret City — Vadim Pandov, and Paradigm (an education series).
Narr8 has 10 internal studios developing content, and it is encouraging third-party content makers to use its upcoming applications programming interface. Narr8 hopes to become a hope that spans digital content for games, sports and education. Game Insight and Narr8 are cross-promoting each other. If you are in the Narr8 app and tap on a Game Insight game, the app will take you to an installation screen so that you can install the Game Insight game. Narr8 is also working on getting licensed intellectual property for its digital publishing platform in a variety of regions. It is seeking deals in cartoons, comics, sports, and education.
“We’re happy to host an innovative application such as NARR8, we believe that their content will do well with our current readers. Looking forward to seeing the success of NARR8 on Amazon,” said Dave Limp, vice president at Amazon’s Kindle division.
The platform is based on HTML5, the lingua franca of the web, as well as Narr8′s own technology.
Narr8 was founded in October 2011 by Alexander Vaschenko, formerly of Moscow-based Mail.ru and Astrum Online. It has $4 million in funding from IMI.VC Venture Company, based in Moscow. That firm is led by Igor Matsanyuk, who is also on the Game Insight board and is a former executive from Mail.ru and Astrum Online. Narr8 has more than 170 employees. Rivals include Madefire and Comixology.