Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time to get an iPad: DC Comics goes digital

As recently as Monday, DC wasn't publicly committing to anything when it came to digital comics. As of this morning, DC Comics are available via iTunes. Including the release of Superman #700, which is released today.

In no way does this appear to be an original strategy, but at least they didn't wait much longer to unveil part of the plan.

I have to wonder if plans were to roll out the digital initiative at some other point (San Diego?), but reports that began surfacing this week about Marvel's relative success, and possibly even the story about Hastings getting into the comics game didn't drive the decision to flip the switch.

Well, iPad users, your time is now.

Update: DC's official press release.

Update Update: I was a bit curious as to why DC teamed with Playstation rather than X-Box when it came to their upcoming DCU Online system, which is PC specific for computer and PS3 specific for consoles. But I am guessing that the Playstation Comics thing was already planned, or part of that strategy.


Simon MacDonald said...

I'm still going to wait until iPad version 2 before I make the plunge. I'm thinking the advances in the iPhone 4 should make it into the next generation of the iPad. That is, the front facing camera and retina display.

However, now that all the major publishers have seemed to have thrown there hats into the Comixology ring I'm going to continue to buy digital comics from them building up a library for my eventual iPad purchase. What I noticed that was interesting about the DC app was that Justice League: Generation Lost #4 is available. That is a day and date release as the floppy comes out today as well. It is priced at $2.99 whereas the rest of the books are $1.99. I wonder if it will drop in price at a later date?

What I'm really hoping is that the Vertigo titles I like to follow get caught up as I'd like to grab The Unwritten, Sweet Tooth, etc. and read it before the trades are available.

rhpt said...

Gonna try this on the iPhone ...

The League said...

I would still love a monthly subscription model, but this is okay. I can see dropping the price within 3 - 6 months or when the collection hits. I would like to see them include prices for collections, even if its the same as cost per issue.

Oh, well. It's something...

Anonymous said...

There is no way the price will be dropped for sometime. The prices should actually be cheaper than the floppy to reflect that it is a digital medium instead of a physical floppy.

The main reason is that DC cannot afford to undercut the direct market. That's their bread and butter for comics in the short term. There will be a very angry outcry by the direct store owners if digital comics undercut the price of floppies and removes the customer base. Marvel and DC entered into a devil's bargain by creating and promoting the direct market. Now they are paying for that strategy.


The League said...

Well, we're already seeing prices of comics that have been off the shelves at $2.00 instead of $3.00. I do think you're right about the direct market in a way, but the publishers will now have to find a way to justify non-piracy to their digital consumers.

Retailers are also not organized, and depend upon Marvel and DC for their livelihoods (with a few exceptions). I don't know how much sway they actually have, or what alternatives they'd have if the Big 2 decided to cut prices on digital content.

That's not an endorsement for doing so... I'm just speculating.

But if CD singles were $3 in the 1990's and I can buy an iTunes song now for $1? If this gets traction, I can't really predict what will happen.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting. I think the retailers have more influence than many people think. Where else is DC or Marvel going to sell the vast majority of their floppies? Target, Walgreens, Borders? None of those outlets have the breadth of purchase or the marketing push for their event arcs.

Certainly the direct market stores do not have a union or even a consortium like the ABA or AMA but what will really affect them if these direct market stores, many individually run, just go out of business. You already are seeing a contraction. And these stores stop buying or go out of business, so goes Diamond Distributing and then who are DC and Marvel going to sell to? All those iPad users? I don't see it. CD singles and music are much more mass market than comics.

It definitely will be baby steps. If they consistently start to undercut the direct market by offering lower pricing, many many people will get out of the business. If I was a store owner, I'm not going to support an industry that is actively working to undermine my local business. I'd close the shop down and invest the money.