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DC Comics which has seen its market size and readership totals shrink over the years, has finally figured out how they are going to increase its sales.
It’s going to try and sell more to the same people. They are out on their DCnU roadshow and are saying that “new readers” they are targeting are males 18-34. The same readers they have been trying to sell to for the last decade with diminishing success.
Good luck with that strategy.
Do they know that by the time most males are 18 anyone who is inclined to be reading comics are long past the on-ramp and are pumping cash into video games and other leisure activities? Oh wait, I do know one dude who got into comics at 18. My nephew. You know who got him into them? Me.
And as they pursue this strategy, female readers seem to be shoved off into the category of “other”, i.e. the “nice to have but we don’t give shit about them” category. By the way, the biggest consumers of digital content, where everyone agrees the future of comics is? Women.
And not only that, I want to point out something else.
Despite the fact that DC doesn’t lift a finger to market to females;
Despite the fact that DC publishes artwork of female characters that regularly crosses the line from cheesecake to embarrassing;
Despite the fact that female characters are often treated like crap in comparison to male characters AND that being treated like crap is still better than some of the other things that have been done to them;
DC still has many, many loyal female customers. Passionate customers. Customers who will overlook the way female characters are treated, the titastic and asstastic artwork, a distribution system that is limited and can be not particularly welcoming to females AND still buy their products.
And not just buy comics, but engage with others about them. And celebrate them through artwork and cos-play. And recommend them to others. And not just to other women. Men, too. My mailbox is filled up every week with men asking me what they should buy to get started in DC.
In business, that’s called a customer base. And it’s valuable. But it doesn’t appear to be to DC.
Over the last week some of that base has had concerns with this new “DC”, I outlined mine last week. But still there was a sense of “wait and see.”
And now, I see.
Apparently my money, which has been steadily pouring into DC Comics for the past decades, isn’t as good as the money from some dude who may or may not buy more than one issue of a comic.
I’m not stupid. I don’t believe that female readers alone are going to save the company. But it would be nice to hear that they are considered valuable. Important. That DC actually cares if women buy their content.
When expanding a business, it’s a good rule to not piss off the old customers, the base, when you don’t have any new ones yet to replace them. And by identifying their core market combined with the treatment that female characters have received in this reboot, DC has done that.
I’m pissed off (and I’ve heard from many others today who feel the same way). I think it’s time to consider whether the money I spend on DC is best spent with a company more into me. What do you think?