§ Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read an interview with a publishing executive talking about his digital plans WITHOUT worrying about direct sales retailers taking his every word as a call to arms? Well, take a gander at ICv2′s talk with Disney’s Dario Di Zanni:
Exactly. And the stuff that is produced in North Europe, like the stuff coming from Egmont. Everything is included in those 50,000 pages. Consider that we (we meaning all the different creative centers of Disney Publishing Worldwide: including Milan; including our licensees, in Copenhagen Egmont; we’re talking about our creative center in Glendale; our creative center here in New York) keep producing at a pace of more than 2500 pages a year, all franchises included, so it’s a pretty big amount of stuff that we can work with. When we started working on digital comics there was this big [digital] manga phenomenon in Japan. It was already $20 million worth. So we said okay, there may be an opportunity for us to do something similar, to do some panel by panel reading experience.
As we pointed out a few days ago, Disney is launching fullscale into this digital, and Di Zanni has access to all 50,000 pages of international Disney comics materials — including pieces that are popular worldwide from Denmark, Italy and even the US. In part 2 of the interview he expands on the pricing models:
In the U.S., except in the last three years when Boom has started publishing what we call standard characters (Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comics) in the US, and in the UK, we have not had any standard character comics in decades. People do not have that kind of benchmark of a traditional product in terms of pricing. They have other benchmarks, the competition, for which you spend $2.99 or $3.99 for each comic. That means when you spend $1.99 for one story you don’t feel like it’s that much, or at $.99, you feel even better. But in Italy there is this benchmark so we have to face it. We started getting great compliments from US and UK readers saying, ‘Oh wow that’s cheap,’ and reactions from Italian consumers that said, ‘Wow, that’s expensive.’ We have to face this difference. It was in our mind to start giving bundles and some form of subscriptions to the different users. We are also trying to understand whether offering a subscription to just the comic stories makes sense, or if it rather makes sense to give subscriptions to the magazines, which also include editorial pages and other stuff. We are looking at very different directions.
In a third section he talks about the roll out for Epic Mickey, the Oswald-Rabbit-as-The Joker video game coming to the Wii in a few weeks. Disney is supporting it with new comics which will be available on iPhones/iPad, etc. And the first one is free.
Yes. It will be available on iPhone/iOS devices. Our intention is to create a real comics world featuring Epic Mickey characters in different comic formats. We are going to start with DigiComics, but is our intention to add more editorial content into the app. Also we are thinking about doing motion comics starting from the same stories for which we have done DigiComics.
We checked out the free app, and the character stats are great — Clarabelle Cow! — but the comics itself is presented (at least on the iPhone) in standard size and reading it is hard. Oh well, hardly the first publisher — nor the last — to make that mistake.
§ Brigid Alverson reports that manga download site Manga Fox had promised to take down unauthorized scans but quickly went back to their thieving ways. Viz blockbusters NARUTO, ONE PIECE, and BLEACH, as well as manga from Yen and Toykopop, are all up there.
§ A classic pale green pants moment, when creator Steve Lieber ventured forth into the bowels of 4chan, the terrifying message board of online pranksters and media devourers, and found they weren’t so bad after all. the 4Chaners had posted the entirely of his UNDERGROUND comic, but after posting a link to his online store, sales SOARED.
Now, Lieber doesn’t post the actual metrics of the bump, but it almost doesn’t matter. FREE SAMPLING WORKS. More at Whitechapel.
Should more creators launch an expedition into the bowels of 4chan to flog their comics? We wouldn’t advise it unless you are as calm and unflappable as Lieber.