DC Declares Digital Pricing For Relaunch, Retailer Incentives

Thu, June 2nd, 2011 at 2:54pm PDT | Updated: June 9th, 2011 at 2:09pm

Comic Books
Kevin Melrose, Staff Writer

DC Comics confirmed this afternoon that the digital versions of its DC Universe titles will be priced at $2.99, the same as its print editions, for the first four weeks of release before dropping to $1.99. Oversized issues will start at $3.99 and drop to $2.99.

The publisher also announced at The Source that "Justice League" #1, which kicks off a sweeping line-wide reboot on Aug. 31, will be offered as a $4.99 poly-bagged combo pack that includes a physical copy and an individual code for digital download. The oversized issue may also be purchased separately, at a retail price of $3.99 for either the print or the digital version.

"As we continue to expand our readership and make our titles more accessible to readers everywhere, we’re excited to provide our comic shop retail partners and their consumers with multiple formats of 'Justice League' in one convenient place," said John Rood, DC Entertainment's executive vice president-sales, marketing and business development.

"Justice League" #1, by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, is the first in a wave of 52 new No. 1 issues designed to introduce "a more modern, diverse DC Universe." Many of the publisher's decades-old superheroes will be updated with new origins and costumes, while others will undergo minor changes.

Earlier today DC revealed more of the 52 new series including "Wonder Woman" by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, "The Flash" by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, "The Fury of the Firestorm" by Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone and Yildiray Cinar, and the previously announced "Aquaman" by Johns and Ivan Reis.

UPDATED: In addition to the post on DC's The Source blog, Bob Wayne, SVP of Sales for DC Entertainment sent a letter to retailers clarifying some of DC's positions on the relaunch and announcing new initiatives for retailers.

Among the notable announcements are:

  • Wayne reiterated DC's relaunch initiative is not a "reboot," and promised more details next week in advance of Previews solicitations.
  • Five titles per month will receive variants including a 1:25 variant for "Justice League" #1 and a weekly targeted variant for "Flash" #1.
  • Other titles will receive deeper discounting to entice higher orders and ensure availability for consumers.
  • Perhaps the biggest news is that all 52 titles will be 100% returnable offered at least through November-shipping titles.

We have provided the entire letter from Wayne with additional details below:

To our comics retail partners,

With The New DCU – the September launch of our 52 #1s – we have created an event that we believe will generate unprecedented buzz, and, more importantly, unprecedented sales results for you.  This is a shock to the system, no question, but we have the quality stories and the unrivaled sales/marketing support and the increased public attention to help you best absorb that shock and profit from it.

As a follow-up to my first letter, we wanted to provide some immediate specifics on September:

CONTENT
We know that you want more details on the creative teams and their title-by-title assignments for the launch. . (And by the way, let me just reiterate this point:  this is the launch of the New DCU.  It is not a “reboot.”  I think you will soon discover why that is.)  We will send you an e-mail with more creative details next week, as a teaser in advance of the solicitation copy for Previews going live on the 13th. Once solicit copy is released, we will be sending you a short introductory video, starring our creators and our content.  We will also be taking this act on the road, for a series of retailer meetings in markets including New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles, during the days leading up to the release of the physical Previews catalog.  Stay tuned for more details, and send us a note to make sure you’re on the invite list.

DIGITAL
To clarify from my last note, we will be at “price-parity” for same-day digital.  No DC digital comic will be cheaper than its physical counterpart at launch.  Same-day (a.k.a. “Day/ Date”) parity pricing is for the first four weeks of release; thereafter, the digital titles will follow our standard pricing, with $2.99 comics dropping in price to $1.99, $3.99 comics dropping in price to $2.99, and so forth.  Keep in mind that our goal with our 52 new #1s will be to ensure that the physical comic book is more compelling than ever!

Additionally, we will be offering you an additional special “combo pack” for Justice League.  This is a Diamond-exclusive $4.99 physical polybagged JUSTICE LEAGUE comic which will contain a redemption code for a digital copy on the inside cover.  So consumers will have three main ways to read Justice League beginning August 31st – $3.99 physical, the $4.99 combo pack, and $3.99 digital.  As mentioned above, after four weeks the digital-only price drops to $2.99, per our standard price for oversized digital titles.

INCENTIVES
For optimal sales impact, each of our 52 titles will have one of three distinct incentives:

a) Variants
For variants, we chose our core iconic titles, the ones that you tell us your consumers want most.  And of course, we sought out those titles with the most compelling visuals.  At a minimum, this variant plan will be offered for September, October, and November. We will be offering variants on five different titles, with at least one each week.

· 1:25 variant
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 - 8/31 in-store.  This cover will have a 1:25 ordering incentive.

· Weekly targeted variant
FLASH #1 - 9/28 in-store.  Retailers may order at FOC up to as many copies of the FLASH #1 variant as were ordered at FOC of their lowest-ordered DCU title for the 9/28 in-store week.  (This is an example; each week will feature a title with a variant following this incentive pattern.)

b) Deep Discounting
For deeper discounts, we chose to spotlight potential break-out titles which can help you focus your staff and your customers. Books that have a compelling creator, an obvious jumping-on point for your readers, etc.  We will be offering an additional 15% discount on six different titles for orders placed by FOC, effectively giving you a 50% to 72% discount spread, instead of our normal 35% to 57% spread.  At a minimum, this deep discounting will be offered for September, October, and November.  The lead title is WONDER WOMAN with five others that will be announced next week.

c) Returnability
We are backing up our commitment to you and this launch, by putting our copies where are mouths are.  We will be offering 100% Returnability on all of the remaining 41 titles. Returnability across the rest of the 52 allows the breadth of these titles to get their fair chance with your consumers.  This comes with a qualifier – your total post-FOC September orders in dollars for DC periodicals must be 125% or more of your May post-FOC orders for DC periodicals.

As with prior returnable programs, qualifying retailers will be required to return stripped covers from the returnable issues along with an affidavit of destruction to Diamond Comic Distributors at a date to be named later. Retailers will then be issued credit for each copy, minus 10% of the cover price. At a minimum, this returnability program will be offered for September, October, and November.

Call or e-mail me or my team with any questions.

Thank you for your enthusiasm, your patience, and your partnership. Come make history with us!

Bob Wayne
DC COMICS

Stay tuned to CBR News in the weeks ahead for more on DC's September relaunch.

TAGS:  dc comics, dc relaunch, justice league, geoff johns, jim lee, john rood, digital comics

 
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