CBR: Pipeline - Nov 29, 2011
Augie takes an early look at "Cow Boy," a funny new book from Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos about a ten year old bounty hunter. Also, some thinking out loud over digital comics and this week's lack of new releases.
Full article here.
"The Direct Market did not cannibalize sales at the newsstand. If anything, sales rose. The larger distribution in the newsstands brought in new readers, while the Direct Market catered to the core audience in a way no newsstand ever could. The problem became when the newsstand was eliminated in favor of the short term goals of a Direct Market-only strategy."
While it may not have been exactly cannibalization, it seems pretty clear, even in this statement, that the direct market was 100% responsible for the fall of the newsstand comic. Don't let rosy memories or a fast-talker like Jim Shooter convince you otherwise.
When your commercial industry has a certain number of consumers, and you split those consumers between two different distribution methods, you are going to have fewer consumers using each method than you would have had if you had only one distribution method. That's just common sense.
Are Marvel/DC losing money on digital? Probably not. Are comic shops in danger of closing down? Of course. Does that mean digital distribution is endangering the industry? Aside from standard risks inherent in such a transition - no, not at all. What is endangering the industry is the inability of half of it (Mark Millar) to notice this trend happening all around them, take stock of their situation and push to a distribution method that will help them keep their jobs.
Not to pun, but the writing has been on the wall for print media since the Internet came about. I've worked at papers and seen positions axed by the dozens. They can't afford an ad production department, so everyone in that department goes home without a paycheck, etc. etc.
Even the big rags are going under, and are being replaced with completely online outfits that can actually turn a profit. A particularly appropriate example would be Wizard/CBR. Wizard went under, and CBR redesigned their website with a sleek new interface and bags weekly interviews with Marvel's E-i-C. I wonder which distribution model is doing better.
To make a long ramble longer, no one wants to see Dave (my lcs guy) and his shop go out of business. But there's nothing to be done. The industry can embrace technology or die. Loyalty to an aging distribution model would be foolish on the part of Marvel/DC. Just look at how much trouble it's caused the recording/motion picture industries in the last decade. Do we really want another RIAA?
You can claim digital heralds a triumphant renaissance all you like, but it's just not true. At least, not unless you mean a completely digital setup where production costs are slashed thanks to technology, which then allows companies to bring aboard more and better-quality talent. But as a savior of the DM? Business only works that way in your dream world Augie.
The Internetz chews the bones of print media. Sorry.
Last edited by Jesse2; 11-30-2011 at 01:42 PM.
Reason: edited for seplling
Crusader of Justice
I believe that's like saying the lifeboats sunk the Titanic.
Originally Posted by Jesse2
As I understand the news-stands were already losing interest in comics because they took up too much space for the amount of money they brought in - and the direct market was actually created as an alternative to get around this problem.