Publisher’s Weekly has an interview with DC Comics’ John Rood about the survey results. I recommend you read the whole thing, but here are few things of interest regarding the low female numbers:
1. The skew was different in the survey’s taken voluntarily online:
ROOD: The in-store and the online exclusively —group 1 and group 3—those were both 93-7 in male/female skew. The middle survey, online only which was open to any self-identified shopper, was 77-23 male/female. So was there a glut of activity specific to wanting to register certain feedback? I can’t say whether females found their voice in that survey or whether they had specific female related issues to report on, but this is something that stood out.
So those who identified as female and took the survey online voluntarily were three times higher than those who took in a store.
And as for the question around “why?”, another question could be, “are women not buying their comics through the direct market? Are they getting their comics in other ways? Mail order? We the shops we selected diverse enough?”
2. The interviewer, Heidi MacDonald, touched upon the low numbers among women and children asking, “Are there any marketing moves or plans you would have going forward? The number of women was very low and the number of younger readers was very low. Is there any concern about that? Or initiatives going forward?” Rood’s answer is below:
I don’t think there is surprise associated with it. We have an ongoing imperative to reach as many people as we can. So I’m proud of our track record in female characters, female storytelling and female creators. We’re going to keep at it to make sure that all are welcome, at our site, in our partner stores etc. I think we want to do this [survey] ongoing for this very reason, so we don’t get skewed by the wild success of September and skewed by the limitations of this first survey. We’ve made a bond with retailers to do this again and to remain transparent. We joke that our marketing co-op plan is the best in the business, and oh by the way it’s the only one. Now we can joke that our publicly shared research is the best in recent years, because in part it’s the only publicly shared research by a publisher in recent years.We’re pretty committed to making the investment to be smarter about where there’s opportunity in our line, and smarter about where’s there’s opportunity in our store experience. The ability to launch and sustain a wide line with limited replacement is the greatest testament to the efforts of our staff and our retailers.