Universal Uclick is an American entertainment company owned by Andrews McMeel Universal. Universal Uclick is the world's largest independent press syndicate and provides syndication in print, online and on mobile devices for a number of lifestyle and opinion columns, comic strips and cartoons and various other content. Some of the company's most well-known features include Dear Abby, Doonesbury, Ziggy, Garfield, Ann Coulter, Roger Ebert and News of the Weird. The company is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.
Universal Press Syndicate was founded in 1970 by Jim Andrews and John McMeel. The company began syndicating Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury comic strip in October 1970. Trudeau won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1975 for his work on Doonesbury, and the strip is now syndicated in more than 1,400 newspapers worldwide. Over the following decades, the syndicate added other well-known comic strips, editorial cartoonists and columnists.
Uclick LLC was founded in the late 1990s by Andrews McMeel Universal to explore opportunities in the digital realm. The company syndicated comic strips, cartoons, games, puzzles and text columns to online news organizations and other websites, on desktop computers and mobile phones.
In July 2009, Andrews McMeel Universal founder, chairman and president John McMeel, explained why the two companies were combined:
- The tradition and reputation that have made Universal Press Syndicate the destination for top-notch creative talents are now joining forces with the technological expertise, versatility, and new media innovations of Uclick. This is a historic move that brings together two industry leading companies to create a dynamic new organization capable of supporting today's renowned creative talents and the superstars of tomorrow, propelling them to new levels of popularity and success, as well as looking to the future by creating new distribution channels and outlets for this beloved art form.
Comic strips and panels
Well-known comics currently and formerly syndicated by Universal Uclick include For Better or For Worse, FoxTrot, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, The Boondocks, Doonesbury, Cathy, Pooch Cafe, Baldo, What the Duck, Ink Pen, Liō, Cul de Sac, Ziggy, Tom the Dancing Bug, The Far Side and Peanuts (since February 27, 2011) in newspapers, calendars and books.
Universal Uclick also owns and operates GoComics.com, a comics aggregate website featuring comic strips currently syndicated in print, online and on mobile devices by Universal Uclick, as well as discontinued titles such as Calvin and Hobbes, The Boondocks and Bloom County, webcomics such as Pibgorn and Bleeker: The Rechargeable Dog, plus a selection of syndicated comic strips from Creators Syndicate and Tribune Media Services.
On February 24, 2011, Universal Uclick signed a deal with United Media to handle syndication of the latter company's 150 comic strip and news features beginning in June 1. As a result of this, Universal Uclick has, in a sense, a monopoly in the syndication business, as United Media was the company's main competitor in the industry.
Puzzles and games
Universal Uclick distributes daily puzzles and games in newspapers and other print media. The company also distributes puzzles and casual games online through consumer and news web portals as well as through its own puzzle and game portals, PuzzleSociety.com and UclickGames.com. Universal Uclick products include crossword puzzles and games edited by Timothy Parker and Pat Sajak, number placement puzzles like Sudoku and Kakuro, jigsaw puzzles and other casual games. Universal Uclick distributes the daily Jumble online (but not in print, where Tribune Media Services distributes the puzzles).
Syndicated columns and text features
Universal Uclick syndicated columns and text features are distributed in newspapers and other print media worldwide and online through consumer and news web portals, as well as through the Universal Uclick syndicated column and text feature consumer site, uExpress.com. Popular Universal Uclick columns and text features include the advice columns Dear Abby and Miss Manners, conservative columnist Ann Coulter, film critic Roger Ebert, and News of the Weird.
Comic books and manga
In 2006, Universal Uclick launched the United States’ first comic book reader application for mobile phones. The introductory line of titles included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Five Fists of Science, Godland, PvP and Too Much Coffee Man. Universal Uclick has also published mobile versions and iPhone applications featuring comic book titles from Devil's Due Publishing, Image Comics, IDW Publishing and Jeff Smith’s Bone series.
- "Universal Press Syndicate and Uclick Merge". Gardner, Alan. The Daily Cartoonist, July 8, 2009.
- Universal Press Syndicate
- "Universal Uclick - Driving Content Services and Syndication in the 21st Century", NewsGuide.us, August 7, 2009.
- "Uclick Introduces Comics Gadget for iGoogle", Editor & Publisher, October 17, 2008.
- Universal Uclick to Provide Syndicate Services for United Media, PR Newswire, February 24, 2011.
- United Media Outsources Content to Universal Uclick, Editor & Publisher, April 29, 2011.
- Blass, Evan. "uclick to deliver GoComics Books service to cellphones", engadget mobile, February 28, 2006.
- Soponis, Trevor. "U.S. Publishers Work to Offer Comics on Phones", Publishers Weekly, October 31, 2006.
- Twiddy, David. "Comic books turn up on mobile phones", USA Today, September 6, 2007.
- Universal Uclick official site
- Andrews McMeel Universal corporate site