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Author Topic: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering  (Read 9741 times)

Goosegash

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #135 on: 31 March, 2021, 11:15:47 PM »
I'm just catching up on all this debate now, so if it's already been covered fair enough-
what about the prospect of using the Meg floppies for Regened stuff?
There was long debate of old as to what to put in the floppies anyway and it would cede potentially more issues in a year than confining the Regene to something like specials.
If there are too many issues/ pages to fill, then there's all that other Treasury of British Comics IP to be mined as well (not just reprint, although I don't have any problem with that either, individual taste allowing).

Page count could be reduced to bring production costs down, allowing some of that budget to be spent on new material while also being subsidised by occasional reprint material and the Meg itself.

I don't have any insight into the viability of these ideas or if they've already been thought of (I would assume they have in some form at some point)

And it's OBVIOUSLY 'Re-gened' rhymes with 'Knee-Spleened' FFS- a Rogue Trooper bio-chip reference to an old dead-thing being given a new body.
Anyone who says otherwise is clearly wrong - Please form an orderly queue for the liquidation vats.

Err, so...if Regened takes over the floppy, are the kids supposed to be buying the Megazine first so they can read it, which also means they wouldn't be able to flick through the contents beforehand and thus have no idea what they were getting? What do they do with the Meg itself, chuck it in the bin? Or are we assuming that adults buying the Meg already will give the floppy to their kids?

I can see a few potential drawbacks in this idea.

Dog Deever

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #136 on: 01 April, 2021, 02:03:04 AM »

Err, so...if Regened takes over the floppy, are the kids supposed to be buying the Megazine first so they can read it, which also means they wouldn't be able to flick through the contents beforehand and thus have no idea what they were getting? What do they do with the Meg itself, chuck it in the bin? Or are we assuming that adults buying the Meg already will give the floppy to their kids?

I can see a few potential drawbacks in this idea.

Well yeah, I was assuming that the adult would hand over the floppies to their kids- I mean, is that entirely different from the adults handing over their Regened to their kids that don't otherwise read 2000ad?
Or is the strategy solely to sell the Regened issues to people who aren't the target demographic of the Regened issue?
Or to sell the Regened issue to the target demographic who doesn't buy the comic normally in the hope that they might then buy the normal comic that isn't aimed at them and continue to buy it until the next Regened?
The very obvious drawbacks here are that nobody is really getting what they want despite shelling out for it- not the YA's not the OAPs... or are we expecting that only the YA's will buy the 'Regened' while the OAP's buy the normal Prog?

I get the intention, I just don't get the strategy- it doesn't make any sense to me and does have the feel of plans being heavily compromised.
Jim has far greater inside knowledge of how these things tend to work (I have none) and in the absence of hard facts his earlier observations on the possibility of the Regened issues having originally been planned as 'specials' seem entirely plausible to me.

So if it is broadly true that the curent approach is a compromise on 'optimum' (the market being able to take a brand new comic aimed at younger readers from the Rebellion stable without undue risk) then it's hardly without flaw itself.
Any compromise, by the nature of compromise, means acceptance of flaws compared to 'ideal'- it's just a question of comparison of differing options, each of which will have 'advantages' and 'drawbacks' against each other- none of which means that any of the options aren't 'flawed', they are compromises after all.

I'm not denying any drawbacks to The Floppy Strategy, of course there are- price tag being an easy one and that annoying Meg issue hanging around the bag- the thing that might placate the Angry-Old-Codger-With-No-Kids-To-Give-Their-Kid-Shit-To, by giving them something for the money they spend.
Unlike the situation with Regened where they are expected to stump up for something that isn't actually for them, then being attacked for not liking the-thing-that-wasn't-really-made-for-them-that-they-were-expected-to-just-buy-anyway.
Or they could just not buy it and screw everything up for everyone in the long run, and/ or sit outside throwing faeces while shouting...

There might even be advantage in the fact that it would also already be a 'separate thing' which could in theory (in some distant Utopian future) be split away from the Meg to form a comic in it's own right, it's almost a comic-within-a-comic already. That whole stylistic/experimentation/continuity-shaping and branding processes could take place under Megazine subsidy so that when the time was right you're ready to rock anyway, like a 'Stalking Horse Comic' type thing. Sounds great in theory but I freely admit "I'm not the 'details' guy"...

Then there's also that uninterrupted monthly continuity that Regened doesn't have (nor does the Prog at the moment either... because of Regened). I would place that 'established schedule' in the advantage column too.

Just thinking out loud really (though quietly and by typing), so if yez have already dissected similar thoughts it's fine.

I'm only just catching up, as I say so I'm not sure exactly how divisive it's been- just what's said in this thread and a wee bit of 'discussions' from fb that leaked into my feed. My attention has been elsewhere and my on-the-line presence has been limited and sporadic for a good while now, but it certainly seems like the current strategy is not without drawbacks either, given earlier comments about it being 'divisive'.
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broodblik

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #137 on: 01 April, 2021, 05:17:29 AM »
I think the current release schedule for the regen prog is the most financially viable. Personally, I would not mind if the regen is released as a floppie like the encyclopaedia is currently (once every two months). At the end, the model is chosen which brings the most value.
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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #138 on: 01 April, 2021, 07:24:20 AM »
what about the prospect of using the Meg floppies for Regened stuff?

I'm not sure how the content is paid for if the comic is being given away free with the Megazine? Also, the Meg sells fewer copies than the prog, or at least has always done so historically.

So, instead of 2000AD actually receiving a sales bump with every Regened issue, Rebellion would lose a wedge of cash on each special and reach a smaller audience. I'm pretty sure this is the reason why they don't do it as a bagged floppy with the Meg.

There's two real takeaways from my thinking (informed by general experience of working for high-street-distributed publications and in YA comics, not from any inside info on Rebellion's strategy):

1) There really is no practical alternative in current market conditions. If you accept that attempting to broaden the readership is, in principle, a good idea, then it's basically this or nothing. I'm aware that a non-trivial number of people would prefer 'nothing'.

2) It makes a lot of sense if you think of the Regened progs as quarterly 'samplers' for all-ages material, with break-out hits moving to a full series in the prog, which then gets quickly bundled up into a TPB (as with Full Tilt Boogie) — the format vastly preferred by the target audience.

It's incredibly easy to lose a fuckton of money on a new product in the publishing business. Given that it was explicitly stated in a Thrillcast that the original plan was for the first Regened issue(s) to be done as standalone special(s) but was nixed by the distributors, the current strategy is very smart business.

There's no doubt in my mind that in an ideal world Rebellion would prefer the Regened progs to be quarterly specials. They'd be an additional revenue stream on top of the income from 2000AD — why wouldn't they? I imagine, somewhere down the line in a post-Covid world, they probably will be.

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TordelBack

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #139 on: 01 April, 2021, 07:36:16 AM »
...quickly bundled up into a TPB (as with Full Tilt Boogie) — the format vastly preferred by the target audience.

My sole insight into this issue is this very thing. Kids still love comics. But they mostly buy/get bought/share book-sized comics.

I think DD's perspective coming into this -cough- debate is very useful, as it emphasises that none of the choices made are necessarily the obvious ones. For myself, I have to trust that Tharg and Rebellion have run numbers I have no access to,  and as long as I broadly enjoy the results (I do), I'm on side.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #140 on: 01 April, 2021, 09:51:44 AM »
All of publishing involves a certain amount of compromise. People have to remember there is finite money and, as Jim said, issues with what distributors will accept. Beyond that, we also now have a pandemic to contend with. Bunging Regened in the Meg is the worst of all worlds. It eats into profitability, lowers reach, and doesn’t boost sales. The notion of throwing in a load of reprint doesn’t help either, because, frankly, most kids couldn’t give two hoots about reading comics from the 1970s. They want stuff made for them, today.

The ideal would be for Regened to be its own thing, but, as Jim explained, that’s just not viable at present, for a range of reasons. So we end up with the current strategy of quarterly releases that can then be compiled into trades, in the hope of expanding 2000 AD’s readership. The negative is that some old farts whine about these issues. The positives are an uptick in sales and the potential for more people to start reading Rebellion publications.

As for kids loving comics, it’s pretty clear traditional strategy is dead. The current generation will probably be the last to read traditional comics. It’s a pity, because I see people online trying to figure out how to create a British Dog Man, and yet British tradition has been in variety and anthology. Perhaps that format doesn’t hold enough interest. My take remains that parents just don’t (in enough numbers) realise these things exist and aren’t prepared to invest in a weekly subscription. I find that very sad, not least when I see the sheer joy my kid has when her comics arrive—and how when we say good morning to her and she frequently has a floor covered in comics she’s been re-reading for the nth time.

broodblik

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #141 on: 01 April, 2021, 10:13:51 AM »
I want to read the prog until I expire from this plain of existence so if the current model is the way forward than I can life with it. In my perfect world we would have a regular weekly prog and a regen weekly prog.

The bottom line is that more children should start reading even if comics is that media. With the regen prog they have a window into the world of 2000AD.
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Jim_Campbell

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #142 on: 01 April, 2021, 10:22:48 AM »
The ideal would be for Regened to be its own thing

I think one subtle but incredibly valuable aspect of this is the establishment of 'Regened' as a sub-brand. One of the oft-raised (and pretty valid) criticisms of the Regened issues is that 2000AD instantly reverts to business-as-usual the following week, with ultraviolence, real-world swearing, and the odd bit of nudity.

Having 'Regened' as an all-ages brand — potentially a publishing imprint once there's enough material to start calling the trades a 'line' — solves the problem of demarcation between the regular, 'grown up' 2000AD and Meg, and more all-age-appropriate material.

Again, in an ideal world, I imagine Rebellion would have liked this strategy to have worked faster and for them to already be at the hypothetical point I describe, but in an environment where we're one spike in the 'R' number or a new covid variant away from another lockdown and all retail outlets getting closed down again, slow and steady seems like a very sensible approach.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #143 on: 01 April, 2021, 10:57:05 AM »
The bottom line is that more children should start reading even if comics is that media.
I’ll go further than that—there should be no ‘even’ about it. Comics as a medium should not be considered lesser. That’s true in adult form. Yes, there’s a lot of tat, but that just as true for prose and, frankly, even non-fiction. But that’s arguably even more the case for kids.

The youngling is coming up 7. We have, between us, waded through a lot of truly terrible books. Picture books, in particular, have a level of editing that wouldn’t be remotely acceptable in modern children’s comics. Books are frequently packed full of errors and typos, and littered with a kind of sexism and classism that is at times genuinely shocking. (Top tip: stay clear of books penned by certain celebs.) Also, many are just not that imaginative.

The Beano is formulaic and too reliant on word puns—too much so, in my opinion—but is still frequently far beyond equivalent book fare for the under-7s. The Phoenix is often even stronger, with a diverse mix of story types (including Jamie Smart’s brilliantly anarchic creations) and some genuinely clever inroads into classic stories by way of Corpse Talk. And that’s all before you consider graphic novels like Hilda and all the Brownstone books.

Certainly, kids shouldn’t just read comics—and mini IP doesn’t. But I wish more kids read them. They are fun, interesting, varied and provide a very regular way to ingest new stories, challenge vocabulary and spark the imagination.

Dog Deever

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #144 on: 02 April, 2021, 02:15:21 AM »
I'm not sure how the content is paid for if the comic is being given away free with the Megazine? Also, the Meg sells fewer copies than the prog, or at least has always done so historically.

So, instead of 2000AD actually receiving a sales bump with every Regened issue, Rebellion would lose a wedge of cash on each special and reach a smaller audience. I'm pretty sure this is the reason why they don't do it as a bagged floppy with the Meg.

Well, I was working off the premise that the floppy isn't free- it's cheap and it may seem like a hair split, but the Meg went up by £1 when the floppy appeared, ergo £1 of the cost of your Meg is for the floppy.
I understand that it's only able to be that cheap because it uses reprint rather than original material and I'd assume that it costs less than £1 to produce otherwise there isn't any reason for it to have been initiated in the first place, let alone stayed there for some years now. Obviously, I don't have data or anything but I figure they have to be making 'something' out of the floppy or it would no longer exist.

If the production costs of the floppy were cut (by, for example, reducing page count) it might make each 'issue' more profitable which might in turn allow a modest budget for some new material added to reprint. That was kind of where I was thinking the 'sweet cashola' might be. It wouldn't even necessarily have to be 'every floppy', it could just be 'some' with the option of expanding if such a move did bring in more readers.

I also thought that there might be a larger consumer-will to support that kind of move where the buyer still actually gets something they want for their quids (The Meg), it might even encourage a few existing 2k customers to pick up the Meg as well to support the initiative (it's not inherently implausible that such hypothetical people might even have some kids and see it as a way to get them into the comic).

Granted- that's a lot of 'mights', but I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that it wouldn't bring new readers in, though I have no evidence to say that it would either. There are risks but there are always risks in business.
I fully appreciate I am not really in any position to evaluate the potential effectiveness of any of what I've said, and acknowledge that there are disadvantages and flaws which could be a barrier to the approach, or at least require more specialised analysis than I'm capable of.
But the current Regened approach is also not without flaws- perhaps the level of resistance was not anticipated and I say that not really knowing what has or hasn't been said by whom and how much heat there's actually been, though I have seen some (and been in some) board spats before, so I'm using my imagination without any concrete idea of the 'popcorn rating' of this one.
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broodblik

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #145 on: 02 April, 2021, 05:36:21 AM »
The bigger question to ask if the regen is clubbed with the meg is will parents buy this ? I am talking about those parents that do not follow the prog. Plus another factor the regen prog when it is displayed on stands are the front cover and if it parts of the meg will be lashed on too the back. You loose your display power. Do the reverse and some folks will not know that it is the meg and not buy it.
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Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #146 on: 02 April, 2021, 08:44:21 AM »
I suspect the deal with the floppy is (a). Adding value* to the Meg cheaply without stuffing it with reprint (again); (b). An ongoing way of prepping material for less obvious digital/collected release* while spreading the cost into the Meg's monthly budget; and a lesser (c). Addressing our increasingly shortened memories wrt returning strips.

Swapping Regened into this slot definitely hits some of those notes, but I think the loss of any visible presence works against its own aims.

It's worth thinking about how long the Floppy programme has been going - other than going monthly has any Meg retooling (Gold, creator slot, cough Necropolis reprint?) lasted this long? That seems to indicate success.


*I find the cost of the Meg has always been outside the realm of casual purchase, but if I'm getting a chunk of SinDex or Treasury or whatever it always seems like a better bet.
** I'm thinking here of how much of the Hachette collection must have been sitting print-ready on a harddrive as a consequence.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #147 on: 02 April, 2021, 09:19:27 AM »
I don’t have any direct insight into the Rebellion piggy bank nor any of its strategy. But I have been in publishing for close to 20 years now, and so have a reasonable grasp on how things work. When the Meg’s price went up by £1, that won’t have been to pay for the floppy. That will have been about the overall viability of the publication and another attempt to make it profitable and stable.

Generally speaking, paper is cheap and new content is not. This is something a lot of people don’t tend to realise—not least when you see people complaining about digital comics not being dirt cheap, arguing that there’s no paper nor any distribution costs, or folks who demand comics revert to cheaper paper as if that would suddenly make The Beano cost only 50p. (This is a VERY regular suggestion on various UK comics groups in Facebook.) It’s the new content that eats into your budget.

With the Meg, if the floppy was cut, my guess is the cover price wouldn’t change at all. If it did drop, it wouldn’t be by anywhere near £1. For the most part, the Floppy contains content that is going to be used elsewhere. Occasionally, we get some remastered content, but I would bet creating that is still significantly cheaper than putting a load of new content into that bundled magazine. The floppy’s value is primarily perceived value: think of the ‘free gifts’ on children’s magazines—this is in a similar space, only not horribly obnoxious. Like TordelBack says, that the Mag hasn’t switched formats yet again suggests the current incarnation has found a kind of sweet spot.

If Regened was moved to the Meg, I suspect you’d still get people complaining about it, and you’ve the added problems of 1) the more adult-oriented comic now being home to a sister publication that’s even further from the Meg’s positioning than 2000 AD’s, and 2) a total lack of newsstand visibility/access. Both of those things have the potential to reduce sales, and neither would likely increase it.

From a publishing standpoint, the ideal remains an entirely separate and new publication. But that ideal results in a potential six-figure hit if things don’t work. It relies on distributors being on-board AND the readership being there AND us not being in the middle of a pandemic. So 2000 AD has gone for a compromise where it gets a sales bump once a quarter and material that’s subsequently bundled into trades that might give it a foothold in the YA market. (Another potential plus is series considered strong enough to spin out into the Prog, which can also then target YA and possibly adult readers as well when collected.) The negative impact is old farts grumbling, but I’d wager they are relatively few in number but loud of voice.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #148 on: 02 April, 2021, 09:52:11 AM »
The negative impact is old farts grumbling, but I’d wager they are relatively few in number but loud of voice.

I suspect this is very much the case, too. I don't think there's enough slack in 2000AD's circulation for Rebellion to continue with a strategy that was costing them sales in any significant numbers, so I think you're right… it's probably a vocal but very small minority.
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Jim_Campbell

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Re: Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« Reply #149 on: 02 April, 2021, 10:10:00 AM »
I think you're right… it's probably a vocal but very small minority.

To clarify: this is not to suggest that that minority isn't entitled to hold that view. They pays their money, just like everyone else, and if they don't like it then they're perfectly entitled to complain about it.
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