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Author Topic: Why do you think Rebellion isn't afraid to compete with its own digital comics?  (Read 1510 times)

The Adventurer

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Among most of the big publishers, certainly all those in the front of Previews catalog, there seems to be a gentlemen's agreement to not kneecap the physical storefront direct market by offering digital content at lower prices. At least on release day, as several (Image, Dark Horse, IDW) do offer lower prices a month after release. The argument goes that the direct market is still the bread and butter sales generator of the big publishers, and to offer digital at a more logical lower price would draw sales away from that direct market, weakening local comic shops, cause them to fail, and therefor impact the publishers significantly. In short, having two price points causes competition with themselves, so they choose to make print more attractive since you get a physical object for the same price. For some (ie: me)that's not a deal breaker for digital and We pay the premium or wait for a price drop.

But Rebellion seems to have bucked these tread, offering the weekly comic at much lower price then cover (especially in North America) and print collections that can run 25 - 30 dollars are sold digitally for $10 or $13. I just got the brand new Summer Magic collection for a cool 10 dollars American, that'll get a sale from at release day every time.

Do you suppose this is because Rebellion sales are primarily at news agents and book stores, so propping up the direct market isn't a priority? Or are they just forward thinking to know growing the digital side with lower prices will help them stay strong in a growing digital future?

Well whatever the reason I approve, and wish more publishers were as flexible with their release day pricing. I'd certainly by more in quantity every week if that was the case. It's not really possible when the average price is $4 an issue these days. 

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The Enigmatic Dr X

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No idea. But if I was to guess without any evidence, I'd say it's to do with the anthology nature of the comic. I guess, and hope, that a big chunk (in percentage terms) of revenue comes from the trade sales and that (in the worst case) 2000ad and The Meg cover their costs.

Those costs would cover the creator payments. Then, any sale from the collections is largely profit.

On a balance sheet side, the cost of digital is less than the cost of physical. Maybe it's just a case of applying a healthier margin to digitial but resulting in a lower cost?

In other words, digital may cost us less than physical, but costs Rebellion an even lesser amount. Therefore, Rebellion actively wants digital sales because, on a per unit basis, a digital sale makes more money.

Couple that with a specific market made of 30-50 year old die hards, who are going to take ages to shift from physical to digital, and 18-30 year olds who are millenially familiar with digital, and it's a recipe for growth. In fact, the sooner us dinosaurs go digital then the better.

I'm sure relative market size, meaning that there are limited economies of scale for printing, come into the equation too. Can Rebellion afford to saturate the market with product in order to win audience share?

With the anthology format, Rebellion can also sell a subtly different product to the Prog/ Meg in a collected format. I guess that, too, helps create a market: you repackage the same material and sell it again. Digital lets you have multiple SKUs, and these cannot all be in stock physically or in quantity.
« Last Edit: 05 May, 2017, 08:04:34 AM by The Enigmatic Dr X »
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I, Cosh

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Do you suppose this is because Rebellion sales are primarily at news agents and book stores, so propping up the direct market isn't a priority?
No idea, but this was my immediate thought. I guess the savings are more significant from an American perspective as well.
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Colin YNWA

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Yeah I have absolutely no idea but my guess would be that Rebellion had an issue (big if you were to believe reports on here) getting traction in America due in part to distribution, even dedicated fans struggled to keep going. It was also difficult to break into a bloated market, so I'd guess and this is only a guess, that the reduced price is to try to get the comic across in international markets.

This may well be backed up by the idea that people like physical stuff, there was a report recently (which if I wasn't so lazy I'd cite and eBooks are flattening and physical book sales are returning. So I'd guess the idea is:

  • Get into the market using a well priced current digital edition, which is bonus money as the physical sales in the UK cover costs (who the hell knows not me but work with me)

    This is then backed up by the 'brand' gaining traction over there and more money can be made from people buying trades, both of stuff they've read and of back catalogue trades that have better more reliable distribution?

IndigoPrime

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It's a smart strategy. People generally don't recognise the value in digital (and that most costs are in production, not physical materials). Perhaps with Rebellion, there's a thinking that existing fans and collectors will stick with paper anyway, but newcomers might be tempted by lower pricing. Also, Rebellion owns the entire widget, bar the cut it gives on things like the App Store. Compare that to, say, Comixology, which takes a big cut of revenue.

Personally, I'd say the DRM-free angle was Rebellion's smartest move. Comics people are savvy and want the freedom to do what they want with their comics. 2000 AD allows that.

walrus

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Personally, I'd say the DRM-free angle was Rebellion's smartest move. Comics people are savvy and want the freedom to do what they want with their comics. 2000 AD allows that.


I would agree with this, DRM-free is an inspired move and there only appears to be Rebellion and Image with any real commitment to it. I want to be able to choose the reading software which is least intrusive to my experience.

My digital comic spending goes to Rebellion and Image before it goes to many of the other bigger publishers, and generally it has to be a bargain before I am prepared to put up with being forced to use their DRM reading software.

IndigoPrime

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My take's the same, but from a wellbeing perspective. A lot of software makes me physically ill to use. But with 2000 AD, I can just grab the PDF or CBR and use it in my apps of choice. That's not the case for the industry giants – and with Marvel Now, the company didn't even respond to my queries regarding vestibular accessibility.

Dandontdare

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But Rebellion seems to have bucked these tread, offering the weekly comic at much lower price then cover (especially in North America) and print collections that can run 25 - 30 dollars are sold digitally for $10 or $13. I just got the brand new Summer Magic collection for a cool 10 dollars American, that'll get a sale from at release day every time.

When talking about the US market you have to factor in Diamond Distribution's virtual monopoly and apparent inability or unwillingness to distribute and market the prog properly. Anything that cuts that shower of clowns out of the process and allows US readers to get hold of progs in a timely manner is a good thing.

sheridan

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I always assumed it was because Rebellion is, first and foremost, a computer games company, and so isn't afraid of technology like the old-fashioned publishers are, who only go to digital when kicking and screaming by 'enterprising individuals / pirates' taking matters in to their own hands.

positronic

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It makes sense for Rebellion in other countries outside the areas where the physical magazine is well-distributed, since foreign sales of the print format version are negligible. In countries where the same product is well-distributed and available in print format, I think it's a bad idea (direct market or not) to price the digital format lower for a day-and-date simultaneous release. Lower-priced if you want to wait, maybe.

While I am not generally a fan of the digital comics format for a variety of reasons -- as an American, 2000 AD and the Megazine make more sense in the digital format, to me, than any other publisher (so would I like them cheaper? yes, please). I'd still prefer to have the trade paperbacks and hardcovers in print format. Those are "the archives" for me.

positronic

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When talking about the US market you have to factor in Diamond Distribution's virtual monopoly and apparent inability or unwillingness to distribute and market the prog properly. Anything that cuts that shower of clowns out of the process and allows US readers to get hold of progs in a timely manner is a good thing.

To be fair, demand for 2000 AD isn't high in America, and that's not something you can blame on Diamond. It's also impossible for them to deliver the magazines at the same time they're on the shelves in England. It certainly doesn't help that Diamond distributes both magazines in monthly bundles, but I'd presume that goes right back to the first point, low demand. Problems like these would be prioritized if the volume (and profit) were greater, but some physical limitations of time and distance are insurmountable.

Titan Comics has some of the same problems as well on the distribution end in America, but you just can't move physical comics that fast over such a distance without using a transporter beam, and once again -- low demand is part of the issue. Reorders? It is to laugh!

But yes, Diamond Comics is guilty of a multitude of other sins.