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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default EXCLUSIVE: Marvel's Gabriel on "AvX" Sales, DIgital Initiatives & More

    In an exclusive in-depth interview, Marvel Comics SVP David Gabriel notes over 250,000 pre-orders for "AvX" #1, explains the publisher's practice of overshipping, gauges the impact of new digital strategies and more.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
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    We see the same drops and rises on $3.99 books as we see on $2.99. There has not been a book yet that has sold more units because of a price drop. We all saw how true that was last year when there was a massive drop in prices. But it's not pricing that drove the DC unit sales jump, nor is it pricing driving the drop on many of those same books. DC put together a successful promotional program for The New 52 that drove significant sales increases across their super hero line.

    By comparison, last year, when "Draw the Line at $2.99" was announced, there was no discernible uptick in DC's overall volume to the direct market. Instead, as we mentioned before, dollars left the industry. This trend wasn't reversed till The New 52 program launched.


    The thing is if you dropped Avengers or Defenders to $2.99 I still wouldn't buy it. But I probably wouldn't buy Captain Marvel at $3.99 whereas at $2.99 i'll pick up the first issue.

    DC pre-relaunch I had zero interest in at $3.99 or $2.99. If they6 had relaunched all their books at $3.99 with no extra content I doubt I would have jumped on board at all. Instead I picked up 36 of the 52 fist issues.

    But Marvel really want to convince us otherwise. So let them, people will carry on not picking up books they would normally pick up. Or dropping books to afford the higher price point. Eventually they will be in a situation where they can;t kid themselves anymore.

  3. #3
    DD & BP: secret BFF's FriendRoss's Avatar
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    what a awesome interview!


    lots of good information. all the digital stuff sounds great. two weeks ago i was planning on buying #AvX digitally. i will definitely now be making the trip to the store to pick up the book now. im glad they double shipped it so since i didnt preorder ill still be able to get a copy


    the only thing missing was digital sales numbers

  4. #4
    Brian is ainm dom. :) Nova2814.1's Avatar
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    There are a number of comments here that deserved to be followed up on, but it's a shame to see they were left slide through. For example:

    If you count the number of books solicited by Marvel in February throughout all our lines and compare this with the number of books solicited by DC through their lines, you'll find we actually solicited the same number of books. Despite comments to the contrary by various folks online, there isn't a huge disparity in the numbers of comics Marvel and DC put out each month.
    That might be true about the number of books solicited, I haven't checked, but the number of books actually shipped in February is far different. In total, DC released 110 new products in February - 91 comics, 18 graphic novels, and 1 magazine; Marvel released 162 new products - 97 comics and 65 graphic novels. That's 47% more than DC in total. And considering that market shares are based on comics, graphic novels and magazines, it's important to factor all of them in, not just comics.

    Don't get me wrong here, I'm not one of the guys that says Marvel is flooding the market. At the end of the day, the market shares are based on what retailers order, not what a publisher solicits. But don't say that you're not putting out more product than the other guy, when you are.

    For all the cries of Marvel's Machiavellian schemes from online pundits, there's absolutely nothing sinister nor is there anything new about this practice. It's also amusing to see no one complain we're providing free overships of "John Carter: World of Mars," but if we do it with "Defenders" then Marvel must be evil.
    The overship of Defenders (and Point One, and Incredible Hulk) was announced ahead of time. As far as I can tell, the overship of John Carter wasn't, but I'm open to correction on that. However, if I'm right, it would go someway to explaining why no one's mentioned the Carter overship yet. It may still be brought up if people see that it adversely affects the comic's ranking. Plus, and I say this with absolutely no malice to anyone involved in the making of the book, but the John Carter comics, and the literature comics in general, don't set the DM ablaze.

    It's one thing to make retailers jump through hoops, spend money upfront on untested comic series, have to wait three to six months to return unsold copies, then get charged for unsold copies, and so on.
    So, remind us again, how long do retailers have to wait until they can return unsold copies to Marvel?

    I can see the merit of the free overships on selected issues, but don't make out that retailers have a massive ordeal to go though in order to return comics, when most comics aren't returnable. That was the basis of the founding of the Direct Market in the first place. If you're that confident about a series, then show it by continuing the overships beyond the first issues.

    [On the topic of free digital download codes being added to the $3.99 books] What is relevant is that we are the first company to add the extra value to our comics at no cost to consumers and with a direct payment based on redemption to direct market retailers. No other publisher is doing this. Ask the retailers who get the monthly payments what they think of receiving their percentage of the program. We're now the industry leader in turning this program line wide and we've doubled the value of every one of those comics.
    What's relevant here is Marvel is the first publisher that HAD to add extra value to $3.99 books after cutting the story page count, with no cut in price. And considering I had one of Mr Gabriel's colleagues banging on for six months last year about how quantity has no relationship to value, I question his assertion that the value of the comics has doubled because of the inclusion of the digital code.

    However, I will agree that giving retailers a credit for each digital download is a bonus for them. And I'm well on record as being someone who likes the download code.

    We had an initial print run for "Avengers Vs X-Men" #1 that exceeded a quarter of a million copies…and again, that's just the initial orders. It's a good sign of just how strong Marvel and the comic industry are right now that we're seeing more excitement for this story among retailers, fans and media than we've seen in quite a long time.

    We've just begun to see orders come in for following issues and the rest of the series continues to surpass any numbers we've seen recently.
    What kind of incentives are on those issues, and what kind of hoops do retailers have to jump to be eligible for those incentives?

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    I like that the business side of the publishers are getting more face in interviews, but they need to be challenged on their statements otherwise the interviews come off as one-sided.
    Last edited by Nova2814.1; 04-09-2012 at 04:32 AM.
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  5. #5
    Elder Member whiteshark's Avatar
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    Avengers vs X-Men having already pre-orders over 250000 units is awesome.
    Now thats a event that i am trully looking forward.
    Over all there are tons of quality marvel comics,and hopefully they just keep getting better.
    Now with DC having a strong line of comics,just mean that Marvel have to keep getting better,which is good for marvel fans.

    The double shiping in my favorite titles is a good feature in some marvel titles,i like that i can read more often new stories of my favorite comics.
    Pull List:New Avengers,Thor,Superior Spider-Man,Mighty Avengers,Swamp Thing,Daredevil,Uncanny Avengers,Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

  6. #6

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    stop giving away free comics and drop the freakin' price marvel. 3.99 is too much for a comic.

  7. #7
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    I'm sad that readers detest most miniseries and as a result Marvel has cut back on them. Alot of them were $2.99 too. :-/

    And I'm glad that it has been reiterated once more that the difference between $2.99 and $3.99 don't necessitate radical changes in pricings. It's all about the content within. Vote with your wallet. $3.99 and double-shipping are currently in the lead.
    Marvel, STOP writing for the Trade so I can go back to collecting Monthlies again. Thanks.

  8. #8
    ... with the High Command Lemurion's Avatar
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    My problem is that as a digital consumer it seems that Marvel is far more interested in converting me to a print customer than it is in meeting my needs as a digital customer. If I buy print, I get digital for "free," but if I buy digital (for the same price as print) I only get the digital file. That's a lot less value for my dollar.

    I don't mind price parity on simultaneous releases. Paying the same amount for access to the same content on the same day is reasonable. Paying the same amount for less content is not.

    By both demonstrating and stating that the print comic offers more value - but digital costs the same amount - David Gabriel, and by extension Marvel, is saying that they are deliberately ripping off digital customers as an explicit policy. It's no wonder their comics get downloaded, people generally have far fewer compunctions about ripping off a company they feel is ripping them off.

    Providing extra value to print customers is great and I commend them. Ripping off digital customers isn't and I condemn them. If you're going to give print more than digital, charge less than digital.
    Anyone who thinks DC is bringing back the Silver Age doesn't know what the Silver Age is.

    There is no such word as "persay," it's per se, two words, from the Latin.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Ari Gold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hulk_Is View Post
    Vote with your wallet. $3.99 and double-shipping are currently in the lead.
    Depends on what you mean by "in the lead". If your definition is Marvel makes more money while selling less issues, then yes, you are correct. If lead means that more comic book readers are willing to spend $3.99 on books than $2.99, I believe they are behind.

    They're unit sales have declined at a steeper rate than the rest of the industry since introducing the higher price point.

  10. #10
    Kind of a DB 0bsessions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
    Providing extra value to print customers is great and I commend them. Ripping off digital customers isn't and I condemn them. If you're going to give print more than digital, charge less than digital.
    As a digital only customer, I don't see it as ripping off the digital consumer so much as incentivising customers to not cut brick and mortars out of the equation entirely, but hey, maybe that's just my natural optimism.

    If I were a shop owner, I'd applaud Marvel's practice on this. Sure, it's by and large merely a stay of execution for the dying direct market, but it's a relatively fair tradeoff compared to simply charging the same pricepoint for both.

  11. #11
    T.S.O.T.I. Hulk_Is's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kylun123 View Post
    Depends on what you mean by "in the lead". If your definition is Marvel makes more money while selling less issues, then yes, you are correct. If lead means that more comic book readers are willing to spend $3.99 on books than $2.99, I believe they are behind.

    They're unit sales have declined at a steeper rate than the rest of the industry since introducing the higher price point.
    Marvel believes in the product they are putting out and people buy it. Marvel will continue to be a dominant force in the industry $3.99 and beyond. Who is set to displace them? Valiant? Image?
    Marvel, STOP writing for the Trade so I can go back to collecting Monthlies again. Thanks.

  12. #12
    ... with the High Command Lemurion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0bsessions View Post
    As a digital only customer, I don't see it as ripping off the digital consumer so much as incentivising customers to not cut brick and mortars out of the equation entirely, but hey, maybe that's just my natural optimism.

    If I were a shop owner, I'd applaud Marvel's practice on this. Sure, it's by and large merely a stay of execution for the dying direct market, but it's a relatively fair tradeoff compared to simply charging the same pricepoint for both.
    The question is where does providing the incentive for one become ripping off the other, and for me Marvel has passed that point.
    Anyone who thinks DC is bringing back the Silver Age doesn't know what the Silver Age is.

    There is no such word as "persay," it's per se, two words, from the Latin.

  13. #13
    Science > Politics Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kylun123 View Post
    Depends on what you mean by "in the lead". If your definition is Marvel makes more money while selling less issues, then yes, you are correct. If lead means that more comic book readers are willing to spend $3.99 on books than $2.99, I believe they are behind.

    They're unit sales have declined at a steeper rate than the rest of the industry since introducing the higher price point.
    Kylun, how do you respond to this?

    DC launched their New 52 line very strong and continue to have some successes, but Marvel is selling more comics and bringing more money into this industry than any other company -- and we're up in both categories from last year with fewer books.
    Isn't it your claim that Marvel's sales are currently worse than ever, and that they continue to decline?
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  14. #14
    DD & BP: secret BFF's FriendRoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
    My problem is that as a digital consumer it seems that Marvel is far more interested in converting me to a print customer than it is in meeting my needs as a digital customer. If I buy print, I get digital for "free," but if I buy digital (for the same price as print) I only get the digital file. That's a lot less value for my dollar.

    I don't mind price parity on simultaneous releases. Paying the same amount for access to the same content on the same day is reasonable. Paying the same amount for less content is not.

    By both demonstrating and stating that the print comic offers more value - but digital costs the same amount - David Gabriel, and by extension Marvel, is saying that they are deliberately ripping off digital customers as an explicit policy. It's no wonder their comics get downloaded, people generally have far fewer compunctions about ripping off a company they feel is ripping them off.

    Providing extra value to print customers is great and I commend them. Ripping off digital customers isn't and I condemn them. If you're going to give print more than digital, charge less than digital.

    i really don't have a problem with it. i think the digital side will see more value added once the market matures more. id imagine right now comixology and whoever is still paying off their servers and what not that they have purchased and installed in the last year probably. once some of those initial start up costs are paid off and making money, i think thats when we will see them getting more aggressive with added digital value

    but for right now. this works for me as long as this works for my local store… which the only reason I'm still stepping foot into is these codes working both way

    We also see a huge opportunity to bring digital consumers into comic stores to discover that unique experience. One of the first steps we've taken towards that goal is our couponing program which gives fans a $5 coupon for a digital comic purchase. We launched this in January to great success and just announced an "Avengers Vs. X-Men" themed version of this offer that last a week leading into the launch of this storyline. We want all fans to know where to find their local comic shop and incentivize them to visit. This coupon program is the most significant investment by any comic publisher in growing the print comics market by driving digital comics customers into stores.

  15. #15
    Veteran Member Ari Gold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dog View Post
    Kylun, how do you respond to this?
    Marvel is selling more comics and bringing more money into this industry -- and we're up in both categories from last year with fewer books.
    February 2011 2,505,514 $9,172,124
    February 2012 2,463,563 $8,910,521

    My contention is not that Marvel's sales are worse than ever. Nor that they continue to decline.
    It's that in the 3 years since introducing the $3.99 price point Marvel has declined at a steeper rate than the rest of the industry.

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