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-   -   Comic sales discussion (http://tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=34535)

Denyer 2006-03-20 10:32 PM

http://www.newsarama.com/marketreport/Feb06charts.html

Right, so we've got not one but two titles outselling Exiles, Green Arrow, LotDK, Spawn, Y The Last Man, Fables, Neverwhere, Wildstorm's current "event", Star Wars, Neverwhere, Hellblazer, IDW's other titles, etc.

Denyer 2006-03-20 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
if sales stay as they are, things should be pretty positive for us.
I think so, yes.

Quote:

Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
if IDW were clever in their contracts with their staff, regardless of the number of titles produced, salaries should stay the same.
From what I gather this isn't typically how contracts are worked in the industry, especially with independent companies and staff who aren't part of a core team. Furman and all artists will be on a per page / per issue basis, plus a possible retainer.

edit: I also don't think saturating with monthlies and miniseries is a way to win people over. IDW are producing a lot of optional material (DW trade reprints, the monthly Marvel series) that shouldn't be costing them too much to do but will elicit interest from fans drawn towards completism.

Commander Shockwav 2006-03-20 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Denyer
I think so, yes.

From what I gather this isn't typically how contracts are worked in the industry, especially with independent companies and staff who aren't part of a core team. Furman and all artists will be on a per page / per issue basis, plus a possible retainer.

Hmm.. If this is the case, then it would do IDW best to see who fans like the most, and stick with them. Unless they can clearly afford all these guys.



Quote:

Dare I make a suggestion to IDW that might get me raked over the coals. How about a return to DW strategy of other TF titles? Licensure costs would remain the same, and if IDW were clever in their contracts with their staff, regardless of the number of titles produced, salaries should stay the same.

Oh God, I can't believe I'm quoting myself. I actually talking to myself! Oh well. At least I found someone who can agree with me.

Anyway, regarding the above, I forgot about Evolutions. That is going to really boost sales even more!

Denyer 2006-03-20 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
At least I found someone who can agree with me.
Yes. I suspect McDonough et al would disagree -- it certainly isn't normal to be asked to do an entire separate miniseries under the heading of "promotional materials" in a contract, and judging by Micromasters it doesn't produce good quality material to exploit employees in this manner.

Creators likely to be on a retainer if at all: Furman, Su, Figureoa. The cover work will almost certainly be on a bespoke basis.

Commander Shockwav 2006-03-20 10:56 PM

Another positive I see with the rankings is this:
STAR WARS KNIGHTS O/T OLD REPUBLIC #2, which has to be a costly license itself , is selling at 21,203 a month from Dark Horse.

Granted, Dark Horse has twice the market share of IDW, but still, Star Wars has to be costly and yet the 20,000 copies are supporting the license.

Denyer 2006-03-20 11:00 PM

Hang on... skimming the bottom of that ICv2 page...
Quote:

They do not include sales made by Diamond UK, orders on these titles placed after the end of February, or copies purchased by Diamond but held in inventory at the end of February.
So no re-orders if stores order low and sell out (presumably carried to the next month?) and it doesn't include the UK... heck, it doesn't seem to include Europe:
Quote:

Most of the titles on this chart are also distributed to Europe by Diamond UK, which can account for significant sales for the publisher, ranging from 3-20% of the US numbers.

Dead Man Wade 2006-03-20 11:20 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Denyer
Hang on... skimming the bottom of that ICv2 page...So no re-orders if stores order low and sell out (presumably carried to the next month?) and it doesn't include the UK... heck, it doesn't seem to include Europe:
Psh. Europe doesn't count. ;)

They may not even carry re-order numbers to the next month (at least, for those figures). Since re-orders are available as long as the book is in stock, it may just be too much work to constantly be updating the numbers.

Commander Shockwav 2006-03-21 04:16 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Denyer
and it doesn't include the UK... heck, it doesn't seem to include Europe: [/B]
This is great news! :)

I wish there were a way to determine sales in the UK. With Furman writing this sucker, it may be double what is on ICV2's list. No?

Denyer 2006-03-21 04:55 AM

I'm not naturally that optimistic, but there are a hard core of TF fans in the UK and on the fiction side of things that isn't based on the original show -- it simply wasn't available enough, and we had better in the form of the UK comics.

It's certainly a situation in which the overage could exceed the 20% upper average they suggest.

An exact list of countries supplied by Diamond UK rather than Diamond would be useful, although the UK itself is probably the major recipient. :)

Fireflight 2006-03-21 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Denyer
Hang on... skimming the bottom of that ICv2 page...So no re-orders if stores order low and sell out (presumably carried to the next month?) and it doesn't include the UK... heck, it doesn't seem to include Europe:
Re-orders are included in next months chart if they sell enough to get into it (in January number 300 sold 929, in February it was 1562, so if a titles re-orders aren't getting onto the chart then it's not selling much extra), as the charts are simply the top 300 comics sold by Diamond that month.

Two other things worth pointing out is that IDW apparently don't overprint much (though they'd be more likely to overprint a high profile launch like Transformers) and I think that the asterix next to the title indicates that it has sold out at Diamond, so only Infiltration #2 is still in stock.

No idea how much net income there is on a comic, though there's an educated guesss on the percentage Marvel take here:
Retailer column
Quote:

A little back-of-the-envelope math here: even including Diamondís cut, the least that Marvel makes on a comic is around 35% of cover (Their top discount is 59%, and letís say they give Diamond an additional 6% [though I think it is lower than that, actually]). On a $2.25 comic that is around $0.79. Given that Marvel offers ďpromotionally pricedĒ comics (like the 25-cent experiments, or Free Comic Book Day) for under 19 cents itís probably safe to say that a $2.25 comic costs them under a quarter to print. Thatís a 216% profit margin.
For an idea of the percentage of international orders, Ellis mentions in this thread, near the bottom that NextWave #1 sold approximately 40,000 copies, but the estimates only come to 31,715, which is more than 25% over. Like Transformers, this is probably a book that does relatively better outside of the U.S. than in it, so it's a figure that could be expected for Infiltration and Beast Wars.

Angelophile 2006-03-21 12:24 PM

Oh well, I don't find these numbers as positive as some other people do, apparently.

Dreamwave launched their first issue with sales of around 150,000 copies with multiple covers. They declined to sales of around 30,000 with single covers.

IDW LAUNCHED to the same level of orders as Dreamwave went bankrupt on. WITH multiple covers.

That doesn't strike me as being that healthy.

But it just depends on IDW's expectations. If they were expecting to shift about 25-30k of their comics WITH the multiple covers, fair enough, for them. But still, not exactly drawing in the crowds.

Cliffjumper 2006-03-21 01:47 PM

DW's launch is a bit of an unfair comparison... it really was just phenominally high sales (most comics flat-out don't sell that well these days), with a huge amount of anticipation - there hadn't been a Transformers comic since 1994 for one, and that one hadn't been a road accident... IDW have to rebuild the more casual fan's trust in the brand as a comic title following the rape done upon it by DW, and that'll take word of mouth. DW's problems weren't really in their sales, however much they dived (though their seeming belief that they could attain six-figure sales again possily didn't help) - it had more to do with them not paying various parties as they went along. If DW's sales had stabilised there and they'd had everything sorted out they could easily have continued successfully for a while. IDW have better financial management it seems, and they also have better support - things like Angel and CSI may be selling less than TF, but I'll bet they have solid fanbases to some degree, and they're probably closer to it than most of DW's other titles were.

The sales are lower, for sure, especially considering the covers thing. But that doesn't mean they aren't good. IDW probably didn't buy the thing to have a flash-in-the-pan smash like DW did, especially as they probably don't have a plan to hit the wall in three years.

All that said, we're not going to have a clue until we have some idea how readers are hanging in for the back end of Infiltration and beyond.

Denyer 2006-03-21 02:05 PM

Cheers to Fireflight for all that information. :up:
Quote:

Originally posted by Angelophile
IDW LAUNCHED to the same level of orders as Dreamwave went bankrupt on.
Dreamwave didn't go bankrupt on comics sales. This seems counter-intuitive, but is nevertheless true.

Look at IDW sales figures on other licensed titles -- and bear in mind they're a company with a stable financial background.

I'm actually loathe to directly accuse DW ex-owners of embezzlement, but their having run other licenses into the ground and exchange rate issues seem to be a small part of the puzzle -- the only credible explanation, in my opinion, is that money was being siphoned out of the company. This appears to be particularly likely in light of the way Pat tied up assets by attaching them to family members; the death of the company (and non-payment of creditors) was planned for.

IDW are currently selling (per TF book) over half the numbers of Batman -- which is the title the entire list's worked out on the basis of.
Quote:

We are estimating actual sales by Diamond U.S. (primarily to North American comic stores), using Diamond's published sales indexes and publisher sales data to estimate a sales number for Batman (the anchor title Diamond uses in its calculations), and using that number and the indexes to estimate Diamond's sales on the remaining titles.
To say that these sales figures are far from exact is being overly kind.

Angelophile 2006-03-21 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Denyer
Cheers to Fireflight for all that information. :up:
Dreamwave didn't go bankrupt on comics sales. This seems counter-intuitive, but is nevertheless true.

True, but they had a stable audience around the 30,000 mark. I'd have hoped IDW could better that with their multiple covers and fan favourite writer. They should really should have been able to take that core readership and add to it with people who read comics but didn't dig Dreamwave's take (which, let's face it, was a LOT of fans).

I'm not saying sales figures of this level are gonna run IDW into bankruptcy - they're a lot more business minded than DW ever were - but it's disappointing that the fanbase has actually dwindled rather than grown since Dreamwave's last issues. You'd have hoped a big relauch could have picked up SOME of the 120,000 missing sales who tried Dreamwave's first issues.

Ozz 2006-03-21 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Angelophile
They should really should have been able to take that core readership and add to it with people who read comics but didn't dig Dreamwave's take (which, let's face it, was a LOT of fans).
Do you know for sure that people who read DreamWave comics (the core readership, as you put it) are reading IDW series? What if, say, half of them didn't even try to get into it?

Denyer 2006-03-21 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Angelophile
They should really should have been able to take that core readership and add to it with people who read comics but didn't dig Dreamwave's take
Honestly, if I didn't keep up with events online, I wouldn't be bothering to pick up new Transformers comics that appeared on the shelf -- it'd be "Oh. Good. More Dreamwave sh*te." If I didn't talk to people about the comics, I wouldn't have read the G1 title past the start of volume two. Both of the complete TWW titles I enjoyed at the time, but that's all DW offered me as a reader in three years, and even that was tainted by editorial/art interference and it linking into DW's bigger continuity. From three years, one year's worth of monthly comics.

With apologies to anyone who was enjoying DW titles, the main title (in both advertising and writing) was heavily aimed towards a lowest common denominator. Bearing in mind that the majority of comics on sales charts are superhero fare, this can realistically be assumed to represent a fair chunk of the market for fiction stemming from a toy license.

We also aren't in a nostalgia bubble any more. Like most people outside the US, I ordered DWG1v1 without having read any of it, hyped by the fact it was being withheld from us by licensing issues. I'd still have gone on to do the same with IDW's title, but I think a lot more people would be cautious this time around. Still others quite possibly feel that Transformers comics have had their shot with them. They could be sitting on dozens of issues without any real ending.

Those who remain, on the other hand, will respond to quality -- even if takes them a while to come onboard. I do believe that.

However, I sure as hell wish IDW had come along first.

Quote:

Originally posted by Angelophile
it's disappointing that the fanbase has actually dwindled rather than grown since Dreamwave's last issues.
Almost half a decade since they started, the fandom as a whole is probably shrinking. This time there aren't other 80s titles hitting the shelves, there aren't reissues in the local TRU that tie in, etc. The next "event" that will draw casual fans and nostalgics out will be the 2007 film. (Plus the Classics line, possibly.)

Cliffjumper 2006-03-21 03:50 PM

The other thing is the nostalgia bubble seems to have burst a little bit... there seem to be fewer people wearing Decepticon t-shirts around and that sort of thing. DW Vol. 1 came out right in the thick of it.

IDW seem to have purposefully played the launch as a low-key thing, IMO.

Basically, it's a bit like comparing the sales of, say, New X-Men #114 to those of X-Men #1 (erm, the one in 1991). There are lots of differing factors to consider...

The other thing is that DW did still attract lots of multiple purchases...

[unrelated question]

Can anyone quickly say how many of IDW's covers for #1 were actually "full" comics, i.e. not incentives, exclusives, limited edition etc?

I'd like to state that I started that post 50- minutes ago, and that excuses it's total irrevelance :)

Cliffjumper 2006-03-21 04:10 PM

I think the amount DW cheesed off buyers towards the end can't really be overestimated. As Denyer says, anyone who bought all their stuff was left with three unfinished arcs (not to mention all the random dangling threads McMicktyk's "Right, let's just lob in someone else then!" style of writing left). They had to put up with an unreliable company whose books rarely shipped on time. They had to put up with fanboy-placating nonsense and subtle-as-Bolton injokes. People pumped as much as £20~ (very low estimate) into stories that literally went nowhere, and considerably more into stories that took far too long to get there (basically, if it's going to take a year-plus to resolve a plot point, that's pretty slow).

Most people buying the DW books aren't hardwired into comic news sites and TF discussion boards. They don't know all the behind the scenes crap - a lot probably didn't hear about the mooted Sarracini relaunch, they just gave up on a title which failed to keep to schedule (Hell, if Ultimates can lose readers for that reason...)... I think DW's sales had they got #11 out would have been lower, and they'd have continued to decline. I wonder how many readers were hanging in there in the hope that #12 gave some sort of resolution (I've often kept buying a title until the end of a plot arc).

I wonder how many actually realise the license has even switched to a new company. Even the names are a bit similar.

Commander Shockwav 2006-03-21 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Denyer
-- the only credible explanation, in my opinion, is that money was being siphoned out of the company. This appears to be particularly likely in light of the way Pat tied up assets by attaching them to family members; the death of the company (and non-payment of creditors) was planned for.
[/B]
I have come to this same conclusion. There is no doubt in my mind that Pat Lee is nothing more than a thief who took advantage of others dreams. Fans like Don and Simon, they were content just doing their job. When you do something you love, the product of that work, money, gets less emphasis, less attention. Pat Lee took advantage of this.

Commander Shockwav 2006-03-21 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Cliffjumper
[B]The other thing is the nostalgia bubble seems to have burst a little bit... there seem to be fewer people wearing Decepticon t-shirts around and that sort of thing. DW Vol. 1 came out right in the thick of it.
I loved Dreamwave, but people should realize that IDW does not have this advantage that DW did. The nostalgia bubble was huge, and included the very same fans who bought Batman, X-men, etc on a regular basis.

It is unfair to judge IDW in the same context as DW. The climate was completely different in DW's time and they had much to benefit from outside of their own competency.

As I said prior to IDW releasing their first issue, we should be aiming for sales in the ballpark of 40,000, not the 120,000 of DW, because this number more accurately represents the number of TF fans out there. The remaining 80,000 were nothing more than nostalgia freaks.

So we should not be afraid now. When should we be? If we start to see that same steady decline in sales we saw towards the end of DW's run. If that happens, we're in trouble.


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