Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dan DiDio versus Reality

uh-oh, someone's losing here

From Dan DiDio's Countdown interview at Newsarama

Sure, there's damage control, there's plausible deniability...

...and then there's the old 'if we smile and reassure them,+ noone will notice the iceberg'

NRAMA: [...] so lets go through that door of fan reaction to Countdown. You and I have talked about this before – that online fan response and reaction is different from personal fan response and reaction, and neither is necessarily connected to sales for any given project. I don’t want this to get into a discussion of the validity of the groups of responses, but rather, and again, from your chair, what have you heard, and what channels is that coming through?

DD: The channels that are carrying a lot of the reaction that I’m seeing are coming from the stores themselves and from fans that I’m at conventions with. I attend multiple conventions throughout the course of the year, and I’ve gotten a very positive reaction to what’s going on.

Given that there seems to be a very vocal – and I don’t know its size – group of fans online that is counter to that hasn’t really affected sales at all. I find it humorous that information that comes to me from online is erroneous in regards to the actual sales figures. I find it humorous that certain retailers decide to make blatant statements about how they’re going to be striking back at the book by making returns, when in fact the portion of books that they’re actually returning is less than 0.01% of the books that we sold. The reality is that the sales are there, the strength is there, and I have a lot of faith in regards to how the series works and how it’s moving forward. [...]

[...]For me,
Countdown is the best-kept secret success we’ve got going right now. It’s a book that people are enjoying, reading, and looking forward to. I still have people telling and showing me that they like the weekly comics. People are not “tired” of weekly comics – they buy comics on a weekly basis as it is. [...]

That was Dan DiDio, in the blue corner.

And over here, in the red, we have Reality

(courtesy of the Beat and DC Comics month-to-month sales)

05/2006: 52 Week 1 — 140,971 [143,611]

05/2006: 52 Week 2 — 128,393 (- 8.9%) [130,704]

05/2006: 52 Week 3 — 123,982 (- 3.4%) [126,913]

05/2006: 52 Week 4 — 121,440 (- 2.1%) [125,297]

06/2006: 52 Week 5 — 111,895 (- 7.9%)

06/2006: 52 Week 6 — 110,028 (- 1.7%) [111,732]

06/2006: 52 Week 7 — 110,188 (+ 0.2%) [112,618]


03/2007: 52 Week 47 — 92,676 (- 0.9%) [ 94,151]

04/2007: 52 Week 48 — 94,715 (+ 2.2%)

04/2007: 52 Week 49 — 94,681 (- 0.0%)

04/2007: 52 Week 50 — 97,073 (+ 2.5%) [100,214]

04/2007: 52 Week 51 — 94,934 (- 2.2%)

05/2007: 52 Week 52 — 102,075 (+ 7.5%)

By the 7th issue of 52, sales had stopped declining and had leveled off, with small increases and decreses here and there. The 1st issue sold a phenomenal 140k, and the lowest sales of an issue were 92k for issue 47

05/2007: Countdown #51 — 91,083

05/2007: Countdown #50 — 83,752 (-8.1%) [85,564]

05/2007: Countdown #49 — 81,484 (-2.7%) [83,188]

05/2007: Countdown #48 — 79,810 (-2.1%) [81,828]

06/2007: Countdown #47 — 77,504 (-2.9%)

06/2007: Countdown #46 — 76,362 (-1.5%)

06/2007: Countdown #45 — 74,918 (-1.9%)

06/2007: Countdown #44 — 73,971 (-1.3%)

Meanwhile COUNTDOWN launched (with #51) at 91k sales (lower than the lowest-selling issue of 52.
It has kept losing readers steadily with every issue with no real sign of leveling off, already beneath the 75k barrier. That's 20,000 pissed off readers voting with their wallets in 8 short weeks.

Yes, Dan, the itnernet is crazy and shouldn't be taken into account.

I particularly admire the Newsarama interviewer's noble efforts every week trying to get the point across to the editor, that Countdown IS an inaccessible mess, filled with continuity errors, in dire need of editorial boxes to help the readers understand where they can get the full story to be able to understand what exactly is happening.


Tom Daylight said...

Actually, if you look at the percentages, Countdown appears to be performing exactly the same as 52 with its readers (if not slightly better - 52 had a significant drop in week five which Countdown hasn't suffered), losing readers at the exact same rate. Obviously they didn't launch at the same numbers, but obviously that's no bearing on the quality of the book.

(Not that I've read 52 or Countdown; I bought two issues of 52, downloaded a couple more then just gave up completely. Didn't have a bloody clue who any of the characters were, or what was going on, and didn't really care either. But it is silly to expect Countdown to sell better than 52; nobody ever expected it to.)

Manolis Vamvounis said...

hiya Tom :)

i posted these spcific numbers to show the comparison. by week 7 52 had a stable audience, it even had a slight +0.2% increase in numbers. countdown is still losing 2% every month

I don't think they expected to sell better from 52, but I'm pretty sure they were aiming to retain the audience from 52, hence starting their numbering from 51 and counting down. This has obviously failed.

Tom Daylight said...

It's only in its second month of sales figures, isn't it? I think DC has a better idea of how well it's selling than we do, and if it really is a failure then that's really their problem. But based on the data you've given, I've done a few calculations. 52 in its seventh week had lost 22% of its audience from the first week, compared with Countdown in its seventh week only losing 18% of its audience from the first week. In its eighth week that increased to 19%.

I dunno, I really don't understand this attitude some of these fans seem to have, that if they moan about a particular book enough they'll be able to get rid of it. Has that ever worked? I suppose one could argue that DC caved on bringing Hal Jordan and Wally West back, but those seemed to me to be based on obvious sales issues (Flash sales divebombed while Green Lantern just took too long for me to believe it made any difference).

Manolis Vamvounis said...

The objective isn't to get DC to cut the title, but to address the obvious faults that are holding it back. Instead Dan DiDio is proclaiming that all the misgivings fans and critics online are addressing aren't really there, and the book is remarkable.

The art isn't up to snuff, with recent issues being assigned to obviously rookie and cheap labour artists.

There isn't enough attention given to continuity (for a book.that is supposed to exist for the sole sake of continuity).

The storylines are advancing at literal snail pace. DiDio even admitted that they have been biding time while other books get in proper position. This is the comic equivalent of a daily soap in terms of plot advancement per issue. Just lots of retreads

The editorial isnt pulling their own weight, and they grudgingly don't acknowledge what all the fans are desperately needing from this title: caption boxes exoplaining where the rest of the story can be found, explaining between which events the story takes place and identifying the multitude of c-rate characters that are popping up left and right.

DC should acknowledge that the book isn't up to standard and losing readers, and act accordingly to fix things

Tom Daylight said...

The thing is, the way you're complaining about it, it seems to me like you (and presumably the other people complaining) would be happier if it didn't exist, because as far as I can tell, it has no redeeming features in the first place. So why not just not read it? After all, according to D3, there are some people who do like it, why not just let them have their fun?

PS When am I gonna see that Bristol pic? :D

Manolis Vamvounis said...

well, that's the thing... the way this book is conceived, plotted and executed, you HAVE to read it if you want to follow DC continuity.

It's the Countdown to Final Crisis, after all. I am not buying it, but reading it/flipping through it at the store, pointing out the ridiculous panty shot snad crapopy anatomy, laughing about zatanna's stupid use of a reverse warning as a spell, pointing out the glaring continuity mistakes... it's like a weekly chore. I wish they could make it a book i couldnt wait to read, like 52