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Lies, damn lies, et cetera

Warning: I ran these numbers and wrote this post while arguably sleep-deprived. For all I know, reading this post will not only lead you to error, but raise the Elder Ones. As long as they let me sleep, I won't care much.

After playing fast and loose with numbers and models (and assuming a metric ton on things), I can now say with no authority at all that the optimal level of female-friendly content for a book like Batman is about 0.25 (0.259259..., to be meaninglessly precise). This is equivalent to content that would make it as attractive to a putatively average female potential comic books reader as Outsiders or Legion is to the average (male) comic books reader.

Not too much, right? And yet that move would raise its sales -long term- about 70%, even taking into account an hypothetically reduced male readership. It'd sell more than ASB&R. It'd earn DC Comics an extra USD 175,000 a month. Handwaving a lot, and even taking into account record high rates in the US, the financial net present value for DC Comics of making this change is above 30 million dollars.

That's 30 million dollars free for the taking. All they need to do is stop putting women in refrigerators in the Batman title alone.


So there.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
brown_betty
May. 11th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC)
SHOW YOUR WORK!!!! Because I would like to see your model.
__marcelo
May. 11th, 2006 11:53 am (UTC)
It's kind of embarrassingly simple :p, but ok, I've just posted it.
jarodrussell
May. 11th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC)
You're assuming DC wants to sell comics at all. That's probably the fallacy in your equations.
__marcelo
May. 11th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
Alas, good point. I added a "free money from movies" before posting, but I guess it's not about the money anyway...
jarodrussell
May. 11th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
Well, the brands are about money. That's why you have Batman movies, television series, action figures, and LEGOs. I'm just not sure the comics are about money -- which, I know sounds insane, but if DC were really about selling comics to the highest number Not-Fanmen, they'd sell them where Not-Fanmen went: toy stores, Wal-Mart, Target, etc. (The only comics you can really get these days at a book store are trades.)

I think comics are a loss leader just to keep the brand memes out there. As crazy as that sounds -- and maybe is -- why else would publishers (a) only sell the books in specialty shops, (b) turn a knowingly blind eye to downloaders, and (c) continue telling stories that drive so many of their potential customers away (If killing women drives women away, and I imagine having Superboy all-but kill Krypto would keep kids who watch the cartoon away.)
jarodrussell
May. 11th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
(The only comics you can really get these days at a book store are trades.)

That's not entirely true. Books-A-Million and it's smaller (mall-sized) chains sell them, but it's usually a luck of the draw thing. The point stands...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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