Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Initial Sales for the DCYou

I recently wrote about how the DCYou has gotten off to a strong start from a review/quality perspective. Now, Diamond Comics has released their comic sales figures for June 2015, giving us an initial glimpse at whether DC's big DCYou launch is off to a strong start from a sales perspective. The picture here is mixed and probably not the surge that DC was hoping for with a new ad campaign and a new batch of #1's (although the ad campaign might be part of a longer plan).
First, the good news. DC did bring in the top comic in terms of revenue generated -- the new Justice League of America by Bryan Hitch (a book that I am loving so far, by the way). This book is separate from the main-line Justice League and the success of this book alone might be enough to justify the loosening of continuity that DC is going for post-Convergence, especially if it can hold the majority of its readers through the first arc. (Hitch has said he'd like to do at least 7 story arcs... one focusing on each of the main characters in the league, but we'll see how long his run goes.)

The other big piece of good news is that DC held its recent market share compared to Marvel, even though Marvel is in the midst of some potent Star Wars releases and the Secret Wars event. So when it might have reasonably been expected that Marvel would increase its lead from the Spring into June, instead, DC held steady at a 28% unit market share and 25% retail market share... comparable to what it was doing in February 2015 and May 2015, and slightly higher than March 2015. (The June market shares are lower than April 2015, but this is not a fair comparison because of the 5 Convergence issues in April which were returnable.)

I'm sure DC might have had higher hopes, though. The June 2015 market share numbers are not as strong as they were a year ago in June 2014 (30% units and 33% retail), nor was this soft reboot as strong as the full reboot of the New 52 in September 2011 (43% units and 36% retail).

A minor piece of good news for DC is that they have more books showing up in the Diamond Top 100 -- 44 -- than in Spring 2015 or a year ago in June 2014. They were typically posting 36-40 in the Top 100, so 44 is a strong showing and means that they might be broadening their fanbase slightly with the varied tones of the DCYou books. We'll have to see how many of those books can carry over into the Top 100 next month, given that they might have had some boosts just from being #1's.

The bad news is, however, that those top books may not be selling as many units as in the past. Using Diamond's index system, DC's top 36 books have dropped from an average of around 38 last June to around 35 this June. This is also lower than the 39 average from September 2011 during the New 52 launch.

In my opinion, the DCYou move has probably been better than if DC had done nothing because I think the strength of the competition would have made it very easy to have slipped further behind last month. DC should be somewhat happy that they kept pace, especially given a lackluster showing for Convergence. Now they just have to hope that the strongly positive reviews for DCYou books build some momentum into the next few months and that people have the time to realize that the books are taking on different tones and have a chance to find the ones that fit their interests.


  1. Looking at Diamond numbers for July 2015 -- month 2 of the DCYou -- it's not looking good for DC. Their market share dipped to 24% unit and 24% retail (down from 28 and 25, resp., in June 2015) and they only posted 34 comics in the Top 100 (down from 44), and many of these were in the bottom half. Batman was the only book that charted in the Top 10. JL and JLA did okay, but they should have been better given how great those stories are. And I didn't count the Star Trek Green Lantern crossover even though it's a IDW/DC joint venture (it posted in the number 21 position).

  2. Additional note for July 2015: DC had a really good showing on the graphic novel / trade paperback side of things for the month.

  3. Here is some analysis of social media trends related to DCYou and Marvel. It provides some evidence that the DCYou is reaching a broader audience, but there has also been a financial hit of making the shift. I hope they give it time to develop rather than abandoning ship at the first sign of trouble.