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Rion




The number of pages in a Marvel comic is about the same as the number of weekdays in a month. Marvel could publish an all ages Avengers comic one page at a time, one day at a time, in newspapers! USA Today might be a good choice. The only question would be - include Spider-Man and Wolverine, or not? They presumably won't appear in the upcoming Avengers movie, so maybe the newspaper strip should avoid them too.










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mjyoung





    Quote:
    The number of pages in a Marvel comic is about the same as the number of weekdays in a month. Marvel could publish an all ages Avengers comic one page at a time, one day at a time, in newspapers! USA Today might be a good choice. The only question would be - include Spider-Man and Wolverine, or not? They presumably won't appear in the upcoming Avengers movie, so maybe the newspaper strip should avoid them too.


Why should Marvel do this? What's the purpose?

Newspapers are on a steep decline, and chances are they won't be around in a few years. Newspapers also have an even older customer demographic than comics do, where the average age for a newspaper reader is 55. In comics, I would guess it's somewhere around 35. So it's not like you are getting the young readers this way.

Plus why would the newspaper do it? What's the advantage for them? I am assuming that the "daily comic page" is going to cost them money, at least in lost ad revenue. It's not like the Marvel comic will appeal to their older demographic either. Does the newspaper pay Marvel money, or does Marvel pay the newspaper money?

If I understand this right, you are getting the idea from the Superman story from Wednesday Comics appearing in USA Today. But isn't that just really going to be on the website, and not in the regular newspaper?

I understand your initial idea, how to get comics to a broader audience, but you have to focus on the "target audience", which is not going to be found in newspapers.


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Rion





    Quote:
    Newspapers are on a steep decline, and chances are they won't be around in a few years.



I think USA Today may be an exception. See my next response.


    Quote:

    Newspapers also have an even older customer demographic than comics do, where the average age for a newspaper reader is 55. In comics, I would guess it's somewhere around 35. So it's not like you are getting the young readers this way.



I realize this link is in reference to the weekend magazine, but it's the best I could quickly find showing demographics and circulation for USA Today:
http://business.usaweekend.com/reader-profile/



    Quote:
    Plus why would the newspaper do it? What's the advantage for them? I am assuming that the "daily comic page" is going to cost them money, at least in lost ad revenue. It's not like the Marvel comic will appeal to their older demographic either. Does the newspaper pay Marvel money, or does Marvel pay the newspaper money?



The newspaper would pay Marvel money. This is the standard setup for comics in a newspaper. Why do newspapers pay for comics? Because comics help sell newspapers - especially serial comics that bring in readers daily for the next installment of a story. I read USA Today pretty often. If there were a cool Marvel comic being serialized in it, I would probably buy it daily without fail. I might even subscribe to it.




    Quote:
    If I understand this right, you are getting the idea from the Superman story from Wednesday Comics appearing in USA Today. But isn't that just really going to be on the website, and not in the regular newspaper?



Actually, I didn't know about this Superman item! Sounds cool, though. No, I got the idea by simply brainstorming alternate avenues for distribution.



    Quote:
    I understand your initial idea, how to get comics to a broader audience, but you have to focus on the "target audience", which is not going to be found in newspapers.



If the link I found is at all relevant to the weekday circulation and demographics, USA Today reaches millions of people in the target age range.



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mjyoung





    Quote:

      Quote:
      Newspapers are on a steep decline, and chances are they won't be around in a few years.



    Quote:

    I think USA Today may be an exception. See my next response.


It's not an exception. http://www.usatoday.com/marketing/media_kit/pressroom/audience.html

USA Today has 3.6M readers (2.1M buyers) of it's daily newspaper. USATODAY.com has 11.5M daily readers. Newspapers are on their way out, to be replaced by digital versions.

Now, I could see the reason for putting a Marvel comic strip on USATODAY.com or Yahoo.com or another popular website. But I can't see it happening for the USA Today daily newspaper.


    Quote:

      Quote:

      Newspapers also have an even older customer demographic than comics do, where the average age for a newspaper reader is 55. In comics, I would guess it's somewhere around 35. So it's not like you are getting the young readers this way.





Well USA Weekend is an insert, meaning you buy it when it's included to another newspaper. As you can see the median age for USA Today is stil 47, it's not the target that Marvel wants.


    Quote:

    The newspaper would pay Marvel money. This is the standard setup for comics in a newspaper. Why do newspapers pay for comics? Because comics help sell newspapers - especially serial comics that bring in readers daily for the next installment of a story. I read USA Today pretty often. If there were a cool Marvel comic being serialized in it, I would probably buy it daily without fail. I might even subscribe to it.


Newspapers aren't going to do it because having a Marvel comic in their pages isn't going to increase circulation. In fact, newspapers are getting rid of comic strips on the whole, since it costs money to publish them. My local newspaper comicstrip has been greatly reduced in size and therefore number of strips.

And a newspaper isn't going to pay for it either. Why should they pay money for something that's sole purpose is to help Marvel sell more copies? After having a page in USATODAY, Marvel is going to put that into an issue and eventually a collection. A comic strip like Garfield is seen exclusively in a newspaper (outside of it's website I'm sure). You can't go out and buy a Garfield comic every month. The eventual collections of the strips take months/years to come out.

It's the same reason why USATODAY isn't going to pay DC to publish their Wednesday Comic pages.


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The Black Guardian

Moderator

Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:

      Quote:
      Newspapers are on a steep decline, and chances are they won't be around in a few years.

    I think USA Today may be an exception. See my next response.

      Quote:
      Newspapers also have an even older customer demographic than comics do, where the average age for a newspaper reader is 55. In comics, I would guess it's somewhere around 35. So it's not like you are getting the young readers this way.

    I realize this link is in reference to the weekend magazine, but it's the best I could quickly find showing demographics and circulation for USA Today:
    http://business.usaweekend.com/reader-profile/

Even USAToday, which has been the trend breaker, recently reported a steep drop in sales. Hotels are beginning to stop giving them to guests.


    Quote:
    If the link I found is at all relevant to the weekday circulation and demographics, USA Today reaches millions of people in the target age range.

Yeah, they're selling 2+ million copies a day.

Anyway, like newspapers, the best alternative is for digital comics.




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Ed Love


Location: North Carolina
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:

      Quote:

        Quote:
        Newspapers are on a steep decline, and chances are they won't be around in a few years.

      I think USA Today may be an exception. See my next response.

        Quote:
        Newspapers also have an even older customer demographic than comics do, where the average age for a newspaper reader is 55. In comics, I would guess it's somewhere around 35. So it's not like you are getting the young readers this way.

      I realize this link is in reference to the weekend magazine, but it's the best I could quickly find showing demographics and circulation for USA Today:
      http://business.usaweekend.com/reader-profile/

    Even USAToday, which has been the trend breaker, recently reported a steep drop in sales. Hotels are beginning to stop giving them to guests.
      Quote:

        Quote:
        If the link I found is at all relevant to the weekday circulation and demographics, USA Today reaches millions of people in the target age range.

      Yeah, they're selling 2+ million copies a day.



    Quote:
    Anyway, like newspapers, the best alternative is for digital comics.


Not really. Digital doesn't make enough money to pay for itself. If digital does put an end to newspapers, you'll see a steep decline in news sources online because where do you think much of the news and content on the web comes from? People think online content should be free, very few are willing to actually pay for it. Advertising cuts the cost somewhat, but even that isn't enough to actually pay for the columnists, reporters, photographers, editors and the technicians and technology. Digital is a must as part of the newspaper entity in today's world, but it's like free refills or a/c at a restaurant. No one explicitly pays for it, it's expected as a bonus. When I worked for a paper, online was considered a positive growing cost, but only because most of their workers and content were already paid for by other departments. It was a bit frustrating to hear execs praising online for making money and then coming down on Classified sales for not when it was the Classified Salespeople that were making those sales that made Online the money.

This also seems to blame the format for the troubles newspapers are in. It's only a small part of the problem. Newspapers are driven by advertising revenue, the three main sources are Automotive, Real Estate, and Help Wanted. It's not unusual to see dips in one or two of the three, but the economy has hit all three hard. As this moved even more into general economy, retail advertising in the other sections declined as did subscriptions. Until the economy went majorly south, the Raleigh newspaper saw a rise in subscriptions and advertising revenue substantially exceeding goals several years in a row, all during the rise of online news and advertising competitors (indeed the newspaper was one of the first to go online).

I think Digital could be an important secondary revenue stream for comics if they can work out some of the kinks and maybe even an alternative for smaller publishers and iffy reprint books. But, I don't think it will ever make the money to actually cover the costs of paying the talent. I think it would probably be just a different loss-leader for the trade market but ultimately probably kill that as well and much of the industry as a whole as we'd see comic shops belly up across the country, so there'd be fewer risks in trades and collections being done and sold as there are even fewer outlets for them to be sold.




Visit my Golden-Age Encyclopedias and web pages: http://www.herogoggles.com
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mjyoung





    Quote:

      Quote:
      Anyway, like newspapers, the best alternative is for digital comics.



    Quote:
    Not really. Digital doesn't make enough money to pay for itself. If digital does put an end to newspapers, you'll see a steep decline in news sources online because where do you think much of the news and content on the web comes from? People think online content should be free, very few are willing to actually pay for it. Advertising cuts the cost somewhat, but even that isn't enough to actually pay for the columnists, reporters, photographers, editors and the technicians and technology. Digital is a must as part of the newspaper entity in today's world, but it's like free refills or a/c at a restaurant. No one explicitly pays for it, it's expected as a bonus. When I worked for a paper, online was considered a positive growing cost, but only because most of their workers and content were already paid for by other departments. It was a bit frustrating to hear execs praising online for making money and then coming down on Classified sales for not when it was the Classified Salespeople that were making those sales that made Online the money.


That's all kind of BS. Digital in it's current form does make some money. For instance, the NYTimes on Kindle make the company a couple million dollars each year. But even that system is currently flawed. Why would anyone want to pay money for a single daily digital newspaper, when they can get that same information for free? The NYTimes doesn't even update it's newspaper throughout the day, despite the fact that a Kindle has an internet connection.

The ineventual destruction of the traditional newspaper won't mean much. I don't read a daily newspaper, because I can get all that information for free online. The only real advantage newspapers have is in local news, but that niche will be filled by local television stations at least.

The biggest problem newspapers have is their inability to adopt to new changes. Look how many newspapers went kicking and screaming when it came time to put up a website, reluctantly going along with it. Even today, most local newspaper websites are crap. Despite the rapid changes in our world, newspapers still think they can work off the same model as they did a century ago, and they can't.

iTunes was created by a computer company, without any real ties to the music industry. Even Longbox, the comic verions of iTunes, wasn't created by a comic company. It's a common problem in businesses where they aren't the ones to intiate new changes, new technologies, etc.

Digital versions of newspapers are going to have to make changes. They have to have updatability. They have to be ability to fulfill all the news needs of their audience. They have to be reasonably priced (determined by the customer), etc.


    Quote:
    I think Digital could be an important secondary revenue stream for comics if they can work out some of the kinks and maybe even an alternative for smaller publishers and iffy reprint books. But, I don't think it will ever make the money to actually cover the costs of paying the talent. I think it would probably be just a different loss-leader for the trade market but ultimately probably kill that as well and much of the industry as a whole as we'd see comic shops belly up across the country, so there'd be fewer risks in trades and collections being done and sold as there are even fewer outlets for them to be sold.


Digital comics are the future, there is no doubt about that. Any problems will eventually be worked out. The cost for Marvel of creating a comic right now is really low, say 75 cents. The rest of that $3.99 goes to the LCS, the distributor, and even publishing the comic. So Marvel can easily see a profit of 25 cents if they go with a 99 cents price point for a digital copy.

But there are other huge advantages. Suddenly any barriers to distribution are erased, where you can buy ANY back issue at any time. Scarcity of the product is no longer a concern. You can create a variable pricing model, where you change the price of an issue depending on what you want. New issues can be $1.29, while older ones are $.99. Buy six issues for $5. You will see a huge increase in readers from this.

The problem Marvel will face is competition. Suddenly a creator owned title like Invincible might be able to compete with a title like Spider-Man. Licensed comics would probably see a vast increase in sales. The audience will start to see a huge diversity, where suddenly you see younger readers.


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Ed Love


Location: North Carolina
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:
    That's all kind of BS. Digital in it's current form does make some money. For instance, the NYTimes on Kindle make the company a couple million dollars each year. But even that system is currently flawed. Why would anyone want to pay money for a single daily digital newspaper, when they can get that same information for free? The NYTimes doesn't even update it's newspaper throughout the day, despite the fact that a Kindle has an internet connection.


Read what I said. I didn't say it didn't make money. What online and digital doesn't do is make money that sustains itself WITHOUT the original product. Online news sources do not make enough money to hire their own news staffs, they are dependent on outside sources. Will there be online news sources if newspapers die. Sure. But, not as many and most will be offshoots of your radio and television stations.


    Quote:
    The ineventual destruction of the traditional newspaper won't mean much. I don't read a daily newspaper, because I can get all that information for free online. The only real advantage newspapers have is in local news, but that niche will be filled by local television stations at least.


And that's the nub of the problem that I am pointing out. People equate online with being free. But online advertising revenues don't make enough money to pay for a full news staff.


    Quote:
    The biggest problem newspapers have is their inability to adopt to new changes. Look how many newspapers went kicking and screaming when it came time to put up a website, reluctantly going along with it. Even today, most local newspaper websites are crap. Despite the rapid changes in our world, newspapers still think they can work off the same model as they did a century ago, and they can't.


Don't know of a single one. As I said, we embraced it enthusiastically. We even were an ISP provider to help prompt local people to get online, get email and read the paper online. We were one of the pioneers of it.

Just take it from someone that has actually worked in the newspaper industry for the past 20 years to know what he's talking about. Online wasn't that big of a threat, it was opportunity. There were small hits to the bottom line as websites like Monster (and many flash in the pan) offered Help Wanted ads for free. As I noted, our subscription base INCREASED along with the rise of more and more online sites. The big hits that have newspapers scrambling aren't from online but the economy in general. The revenue model newspapers are built on aren't equipped for this bad of a sustained economy and it's not just the newspapers suffering. You might have a point if the newspapers were suffering and going under right and left while the economy was actually going good, the auto industry, the real estate industry and the retail industry was growing.


    Quote:
    Digital versions of newspapers are going to have to make changes. They have to have updatability. They have to be ability to fulfill all the news needs of their audience. They have to be reasonably priced (determined by the customer), etc.


Hmm. Most digital versions I've seen do meet those exact goals. The problem is the "reasonably priced" aspect is the consumer wants it free. That's fine as long as the digital newspapers are a secondary source meant to be just one arm of the enterprise. When it's the sole arm...

I think what we are going to see is the death of the big newspapers. Niche newspapers will survive as will a couple seen as being "national newspapers." Small FREE weeklies will survive, with their focus on niche news, local advertising and with only one or two full-time staff, the rest being a couple of free-lancers. But your mid-sized city dailies may never bounce back.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      I think Digital could be an important secondary revenue stream for comics if they can work out some of the kinks and maybe even an alternative for smaller publishers and iffy reprint books. But, I don't think it will ever make the money to actually cover the costs of paying the talent. I think it would probably be just a different loss-leader for the trade market but ultimately probably kill that as well and much of the industry as a whole as we'd see comic shops belly up across the country, so there'd be fewer risks in trades and collections being done and sold as there are even fewer outlets for them to be sold.



    Quote:
    Digital comics are the future, there is no doubt about that. Any problems will eventually be worked out. The cost for Marvel of creating a comic right now is really low, say 75 cents. The rest of that $3.99 goes to the LCS, the distributor, and even publishing the comic. So Marvel can easily see a profit of 25 cents if they go with a 99 cents price point for a digital copy.


Right. Because there's no extra costs for expensive servers, computers, upgrades, security, IT Staff, computer graphic staff, etc. There won't be any loss in advertising revenue. No money spent on actually advertising their comics, websites and how to get digital the digital comics and what readers they work with, especially as all your comic book stores more or less go out of business.


    Quote:
    But there are other huge advantages. Suddenly any barriers to distribution are erased, where you can buy ANY back issue at any time. Scarcity of the product is no longer a concern. You can create a variable pricing model, where you change the price of an issue depending on what you want. New issues can be $1.29, while older ones are $.99. Buy six issues for $5. You will see a huge increase in readers from this.


This is already done at the local level with print comics. Buy any back issue you want? And that's not going to cost a lot of money that won't see any immediate returns, scanning and storing all of that digital information. None of that is free. Is the company really going to rush out and scan in those issues of It, the Living Colossus any time soon? Suddenly a new reader comes out that won't be able to read all your old digital comics, or a higher def and better graphic card so all the old comics will need to be redone with higher and better resolutions, etc.


    Quote:
    The problem Marvel will face is competition. Suddenly a creator owned title like Invincible might be able to compete with a title like Spider-Man. Licensed comics would probably see a vast increase in sales. The audience will start to see a huge diversity, where suddenly you see younger readers.


Only if the creator has the computer saavy to know how to get his comic online or if he signs with a company that will have as good a online distribution deal with the readers as Marvel. He'll have the same problem that he has today. Is anyone going to want to spend the money on his title vs spending it on Spider-Man? Moving it to digital doesn't change the competition model at all. Don't know how it's going to translate to younger readers. It's the youth market that is growing up with the expectation that their music and stuff gotten online should be free and see no problem sharing their downloads with others. And, you still have to make them want to search for, find and READ the comics. As opposed to just playing a video game or listening to their music and texting their friends. You'll still be competing for their time and dollar against the same competition as always. They can read the comic in their hand-held device or they can play the interactive "Medal of Honor" for a couple of hours... Just being digital doesn't address that problem at all.






Visit my Golden-Age Encyclopedias and web pages: http://www.herogoggles.com
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mjyoung





    Quote:
    Read what I said. I didn't say it didn't make money. What online and digital doesn't do is make money that sustains itself WITHOUT the original product. Online news sources do not make enough money to hire their own news staffs, they are dependent on outside sources. Will there be online news sources if newspapers die. Sure. But, not as many and most will be offshoots of your radio and television stations.


The goal of online and digital content isn't to recoup all costs, so NYTIMES on kindles don't have to support the full cost of the newspaper. You can't criticize something for not obtaining a goal it hasn't set out to do.

There are online sites that have their own staffs and basically do their own reporting. Look at the numerous sports websites that do this. A sports story is just as likely to be reported by Fanhouse first then by ESPN.


    Quote:
    And that's the nub of the problem that I am pointing out. People equate online with being free. But online advertising revenues don't make enough money to pay for a full news staff.


Online and digital are two different things here. People embraced iTunes, which while offering them a digital version of their music, also required payment. This model will eventually take place more prominently in tv shows (many of which are already availabe on itunes), movies, and comics.

Eventually with the news, people are going to be willing to pay for it, but it has to meet their demands. Problems of portability (mobile devices), distribution, payment, content, etc will have to be addressed. The biggest problem that newspaper has right now is that they don't know the answers to these questions. It's not suprising since it's a new field. Another huge problems newspapers face is that I don't see them having a huge competitive advantage over radio and (especially) television.


    Quote:
    Don't know of a single one. As I said, we embraced it enthusiastically. We even were an ISP provider to help prompt local people to get online, get email and read the paper online. We were one of the pioneers of it.


Comeon, during the 90s when the internet emerged, newspapers went kicking and screaming into having their own websites. Again, not surprising since they didn't see the immediate financial benefit from it. Again, even today, most local newspaper sites are crap.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      Digital versions of newspapers are going to have to make changes. They have to have updatability. They have to be ability to fulfill all the news needs of their audience. They have to be reasonably priced (determined by the customer), etc.



    Quote:
    Hmm. Most digital versions I've seen do meet those exact goals. The problem is the "reasonably priced" aspect is the consumer wants it free. That's fine as long as the digital newspapers are a secondary source meant to be just one arm of the enterprise. When it's the sole arm...


No they don't. On Kindle, the NYT isn't updated throughout the day. Difference between online and digital. Online is a website. Digital is an mp3.


    Quote:
    I think what we are going to see is the death of the big newspapers. Niche newspapers will survive as will a couple seen as being "national newspapers." Small FREE weeklies will survive, with their focus on niche news, local advertising and with only one or two full-time staff, the rest being a couple of free-lancers. But your mid-sized city dailies may never bounce back.


I think all paper based products are going to be dead as a periodical in the next 5-10 years. Books might last longer, but only because they fulfill different needs. By the time portable devices (like a 10 inch iPhone) are made accessible to the masses, digital distribution will rule. The benefits to digital distribution are just too great.


    Quote:
    Right. Because there's no extra costs for expensive servers, computers, upgrades, security, IT Staff, computer graphic staff, etc. There won't be any loss in advertising revenue. No money spent on actually advertising their comics, websites and how to get digital the digital comics and what readers they work with, especially as all your comic book stores more or less go out of business.


Considering that all these things are already being done for free by "pirates", I'm not sure the cost is too great. The quality of "pirated comics" already surpasses what Marvel is doing with their DCU service.


    Quote:
    This is already done at the local level with print comics. Buy any back issue you want? And that's not going to cost a lot of money that won't see any immediate returns, scanning and storing all of that digital information. None of that is free. Is the company really going to rush out and scan in those issues of It, the Living Colossus any time soon? Suddenly a new reader comes out that won't be able to read all your old digital comics, or a higher def and better graphic card so all the old comics will need to be redone with higher and better resolutions, etc.


Scanning and storing isn't going to be a big issue. Every comic published since the 90s is going to be available as digital files, and that includes any material that has been reprinted in collections. For Marvel, all they have to do to put Kraven's Last Hunt online is to package it into a readable file and store it. That's not difficult.

I can find the Living Colossus online right now if I wanted to.

As long as the files are in a standard picture format (like a jpeg), any reader will be able to read it. Compatibility won't be an issue.


    Quote:
    Only if the creator has the computer saavy to know how to get his comic online or if he signs with a company that will have as good a online distribution deal with the readers as Marvel. He'll have the same problem that he has today. Is anyone going to want to spend the money on his title vs spending it on Spider-Man? Moving it to digital doesn't change the competition model at all. Don't know how it's going to translate to younger readers. It's the youth market that is growing up with the expectation that their music and stuff gotten online should be free and see no problem sharing their downloads with others. And, you still have to make them want to search for, find and READ the comics. As opposed to just playing a video game or listening to their music and texting their friends. You'll still be competing for their time and dollar against the same competition as always. They can read the comic in their hand-held device or they can play the interactive "Medal of Honor" for a couple of hours... Just being digital doesn't address that problem at all.


Multiple points here. Honestly, you don't seem to know much about this area. I would recommend reading the Robot6 blog at CBR at the very least. You are just completely wrong on this subject. And I know you think you are right. But indy creators are leaving behind the traditional business model and embracing a new one with digital content. Maybe it's just your age.

The technological knowledge needed to put your comic online is minimal, and not an issue at all. Package jpeg files together, and host it on a site. Distribution systems like Longbox makes it even easier.

The competition model changes drastically. The barriers of entry to getting your product into the hands of the consumer are greatly reduced. No longer does a creator have to worry about getting his book into the local LCS, a huge problem for any non Marvel/DC comic. The ease of a reader getting another issue is simplified, all it takes is a few clicks on a mouse.

Right now, there are huge barriers for both bringing in new and young readers to comics, as well as increasing sales for current comics. No one wants to go to LCS, but being able to buy a copy of an issue cheaply online is a huge benefit. You get the issue almost instantly. The price is greatly reduced. Being able to "sample" different comics is easy to do. It even has a huge advantage in portability, where you can read almost any issue instantly, no matter where you are.


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Rion





    Quote:
    The problem Marvel will face is competition. Suddenly a creator owned title like Invincible might be able to compete with a title like Spider-Man. Licensed comics would probably see a vast increase in sales. The audience will start to see a huge diversity, where suddenly you see younger readers.



Why will all that happen? The low price?

I hate reading comics off the screen so if comics go completely digital it will probably mean the end of my interest. Although I guess I could print them...

I'd like to see Marvel and DC publish their Annuals as digital-only to see what happens.








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mjyoung





    Quote:

      Quote:
      The problem Marvel will face is competition. Suddenly a creator owned title like Invincible might be able to compete with a title like Spider-Man. Licensed comics would probably see a vast increase in sales. The audience will start to see a huge diversity, where suddenly you see younger readers.



    Quote:
    Why will all that happen? The low price?


Anytime someone starts reading comics, there are "barriers to entry". It's a term found regularly in both business and even economics.

For comics, including new readers and increased sales, there are barriers to entry. I'll just list three big ones.

Price. Comics are "overpriced" compared to similar goods. New readers are simply going to be put off by the price.

Distribution. Every comic shop isn't going to have every issue of every title. Most LCSs don't even bother stocking items that aren't DC/Marvel. When you next go to your LCS, see how many titles are from other publishes. Probably not alot. This hurts non DC/Marvel titles because the LCS refuses to stock their titles. It's not a situation where these titles don't sell, but a situation where these titles have never been given the chance to succeed.

Location. There are less and less LCSs. Many towns don't have any comic shops, or if they do, just one. Some people have to drive 30 miles to get their comics. Another factor is that comic shops are thought of negatively by the general public. They are unattractive places to go. Anyone who isn't a middle age white guy is going to hesitate to go in there.

Of course there are other issues. The space that physical comics take up (longboxes), the visual unattractiveness of collections, the portability of comics, etc.

Now, let's say that we create a digital distribution system, using the iTunes model. Each Wednesday at noon, new comics are released online. Every comic that Diamond releases, is also released on this system. 99 cents per issue. There is also a backlog of issues available to purchase. So let's look at how this reduced the barriers to entry.

Price. Obviously greatly reduced by 75%. Comics are seen as having a better value.

Distribution. Every issue of every title is instantly made available at the click of the button. Suddenly the LCS owner doesn't decide the success of your indy title. Your issue also isn't going to sell out in any store, since any other customer can decide to download your comic as well. The playing field of Invincible vs Spider-Man is alot more level, since the supply side is taken completely out of the equation. All that depends now is demand.

Location. Obviously not important anymore. A person who lives in a rural area has the same instant access to comics as someone who lives in a major city. All of a sudden, a new reader doesn't have to deal with going to that creepy LCS, and can get their comics with a click of the mouse.

Now since this was your question, let's look at the demand side of Invincible vs Spider-Man. If the Invincible team wanted to, they could offer the first issue at a reduced price to hook new readers. They could even offer the first issue for free. With the reduced price of comics ($4 to $1), readers will be willing to spend money on different titles, sampling them. If you liked the first issue and wanted to read more, now you don't have to rely on your LCS having the second issue.


    Quote:
    I hate reading comics off the screen so if comics go completely digital it will probably mean the end of my interest. Although I guess I could print them...


I don't think you should jump to that conclusion. I think it depends entirely on how the system is implemented. If given the choice between a $4 physical issue, and a $1 digital one, are you really going to chose the product that is 4 times more? If you wanted to spend $20 a month, would you chose 5 physical issues, or 20 digital ones?

It's probably the same argument people made a decade ago, "I don't want to read my news off the internet".


    Quote:
    I'd like to see Marvel and DC publish their Annuals as digital-only to see what happens.


I'd like Marvel and DC to experiment more in this area. Already Marvel is having digital only comics.

But the reason why Marvel and DC aren't embracing this is because few "legacy businesses" do. No company likes change. That's why digital music was led by Apple, a company who had no connection to the music industry. So in the same way, Marvel and DC aren't going to create the digital comic distribution system.

Edit: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/06/25/twinterview-with-rantz-hoseley-inventor-of-longbox-the-itunes-of-comics/ is a good conversation.


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Blargh




This is bad on so many levels.

The low quality of paper used in newspaper, it's made to degrade very quickly in a few days. The distribution of them means they can get rained on, fall into mud, and much more.

Then add in the already slow pace of newspaper comic dailies (which usually completely avoid having "plot" altogehter) with ONE PAGE A DAY?

Not to mention the demographic differences, and any time a comic proved to be too heavy for what people want to read in the early morning, censorship.

This would be horrible.




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