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Matt Reed
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 10:45am | IP Logged | 1  

It'll all come down to money, on that you are correct, Pedro.  Just what they plan to do to make money is anyone's guess.  DC Comics, in the same boat as Marvel where declining sales and interest is concerned, functions as R&D for Warner Brothers.  I don't see why that model, with the kinks already worked out by a previous company, couldn't work for Disney.  Hell, I bet they even go the Warner Brothers route.  They get first and last rights on all properties published by them.  In other words, they can pass on a 100 BULLETS movie but always get the opportunity to bid last on any property they publish.  Again, R&D.  Marvel is in a totally different stratosphere than either of the two companies you have previously mentioned, Pedro, so I can't in all seriousness even consider them as a viable comparison to the acquisition of Marvel.
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Ryan Maxwell
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 10:47am | IP Logged | 2  

I had not heard about this!

••

Time to put in for that EiC job, Nathan!

************

I can hazard a guess as to what his first act would be.

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Mike Bunge
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 10:48am | IP Logged | 3  

"I just don't see using two publishers bought by Disney, one of which was all but dead in the water, as evidence that they'll shut down the comic division of Marvel and farm it out to someone else."

 

Given that these sorts of deals ALWAYS result in cost-cutting and restructuring, I'd be very surprised if Disney doesn't take a hard look at Marvel's publishing schedule.  Depending on how big or small the ongoing profit margin is, taking some cost-savings right now might seem like a great idea corporately.

Completely closing down comic publishing seems extreme, but how much would you cut before licensing characters out is a better deal?  And how much of Marvel's current output could be cut before it starts a ripple effect, crippling the whole industry?

Mike

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Stéphane Garrelie
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 10:48am | IP Logged | 4  

But what we really need is:

VS

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Anthony Frail
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 10:51am | IP Logged | 5  


 QUOTE:
Marvel is "doing well" only when everything is scaled against the diminished expectations that have become commonplace in the industry. When scaled against real world publishing, Marvel reads as exactly what it is: shrinking returns based on a shrinking audience base.

Marvel is actually doing very well when compared against other real world publishers--

 

For instance, despite being a lull period, in the second quarter '09 its stock exceeded expectations (   http://blogs.moneycentral.msn.com/topstocks/archive/2009/08/ 04/the-entertainment-stock-with-a-monopoly-on-superheroes.as px ). You can see from this breakdown ( http://www.newsarama.com/comics/090704-marvel-2q-2009-earnin gs.html ) that the company as a whole is exceeding expectations, and that publishing figures are right there in the same ballpark as licensing and film. According to this business piece at CNN, "At Marvel Entertainment (MVL), the industry's largest player, revenues for its print wares have been growing in double digits for the past three years and profit margins have been running at close to 40%." ( http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/10/news/companies/siklos_marvel .fortune/ )

Few players in print are doing as well. I work in print. I know what our profit margins are. I know what our competitors' profit margins are. I know the print margins of major magazines. They ain't 40%.

The same piece notes the steep increase in its stock, nearly 90% in the last five years, which is WAY above the 30 to 50% declines other media giants are experiencing. Even Dreamworks is down 35% in that period.

It also reiterates the specific success of the publishing division, saying "it expects revenue growth in publishing between 3% and 7% for the year, and margins between 37% and 40%."

Those are heady profit margins even by the already high standard of print.



Edited by Anthony Frail on 31 August 2009 at 10:51am
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Mike Bunge
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 10:53am | IP Logged | 6  

"DC Comics, in the same boat as Marvel where declining sales and interest is concerned, functions as R&D for Warner Brothers."

 

It really doesn't.  How many DC-related films has Warner produced lately?  There's been  steady stream of super-hero cartoons, but how many of them have had jackall to do with what's actually being published?  Outside of The New Frontier, I'm not sure ANY recent DC books or storylines have been adapted to other media.  And Disney understands better than anyone that you don't have to produce new content to maintain the economic value of established intellectual property.

Mike

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Pedro Bouça
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 11:00am | IP Logged | 7  

Let's give a non-Disney example. Harvey (you know, the owners of Casper and Richie Rich, once big comic characters) gave up publishing long ago to concentrate on licensing its existing characters. On their prime, they were as big a comic company as Marvel.

And Pixar isn't a good example of a company absorbed by Disney which didn't suffer a quality decline. Pixar was a huge company at the time! Disney got it by exchanging shares with Pixar owners (mostly Steve Jobs) that made effectively Steve Jobs the biggest Disney stockholder (bigger than Roy Disney himself!). No wonder Pixar kept its independence!
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Robin Taylor
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 11:00am | IP Logged | 8  

I suspect this is an opportunity for Disney to use Marvel as an IP-generator with the comics as loss leaders for other media, much like Matt mentioned how DC/Warners work.

Of course, if it doesn't pay off I fully expect Disney to kill the publishing and rape the corpse for direct-to-video as they have with their own archive of IP.

RT
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Taavi Suhonen
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 11:04am | IP Logged | 9  

So, is this the right time to start working on a Donald Duck/Hulk: Anger Management script?
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Pedro Bouça
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 11:05am | IP Logged | 10  

Oh, and even if Disney DOES keep publishing Marvel, their guidelines may be WAY too strict.

Don Rosa had one of his "Uncle Scrooge Life and Times" stories censored on a Disney Comics reprint (at the time Disney was self-publishing) because a character was... Pointing a gun to another! Seriously.

We could see a comeback of the bad parts of the silver age...
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Stephen Bergstrom
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 11  

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Joe S. Walker
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Posted: 31 August 2009 at 11:11am | IP Logged | 12  

It seems to me that closing down "Marvel Comics" as an entity would be really bad publicity - you can imagine the news stories: "After 50 years, Spider-Man swings off the comic pages," etc. On the other hand there are a lot of lesser characters and projects that might be considered surplus to requirements.
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