Dandy Revamp Doomed?

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Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:56 am

Sorry for the sensationalistic headline, but Digital Spy reports that the January-June sales figures for DC Thomson's titles show that the Dandy's readership has slumped to 7,448, a drop of 48.1% on the previous six months (the Beano, by comparison, stands at 37,145, a drop of 20.4%). It appears that pretty much all titles from all companies are losing readers, but the Dandy's position, if these figures are accurate, must be pretty precarious...

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:47 pm

tony ingram wrote:Sorry for the sensationalistic headline, but Digital Spy reports that the January-June sales figures for DC Thomson's titles show that the Dandy's readership has slumped to 7,448, a drop of 48.1% on the previous six months (the Beano, by comparison, stands at 37,145, a drop of 20.4%). It appears that pretty much all titles from all companies are losing readers, but the Dandy's position, if these figures are accurate, must be pretty precarious...

Oh dear.
They took a big gamble with the Dandy revamp. It wasn't to my taste but I hoped it would be enough to revive the comic. The fact that it seems to be selling less than half of what Dandy Xtreme was managing does not bode well.

I thought that making it a weekly was a bit optimistic. Remember all that guff when Dandy Xtreme launched about turning it into a lifestyle magazine because that was easier for kids to fit into their busy lives ? Rolling Eyes

It's interesting that the imminent new Dandy Annual looks to be in a much more traditional vein than the weekly.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:17 pm

And yet Commando, which has never tried to reinvent itself, still does just fine. There's a lesson there...

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:31 pm

tony ingram wrote:And yet Commando, which has never tried to reinvent itself, still does just fine. There's a lesson there...

Commando seems to have seen off all it's competitors. I'm pleasantly surprised that there's still enough of a market to put out eight issues a month !

I think the problem for the Dandy is that there doesn't seem to be a big enough market any more for both the Dandy and the Beano.
They've tried to take the Dandy in a radically different direction to counter this and sadly it just doesn't seem to have worked.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:00 pm

There's an interview with Euan Kerr here, as part of Broken Frontier.com's British Comics week event (yes, there is rather a lot of it) in which Euan gives his view on why that is.

http://www.brokenfrontier.com/lowdown

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:40 pm

This is interesting, as it states that Commando is selling 8000 copies per issue, not that much more than the Dandy :

http://downthetubescomics.blogspot.com/2011/08/are-falling-sales-bad-news-for-dandy.html

I guess the difference is that Commando puts out 8 books a month (with half of them reprints) so that must help the numbers to stack up a bit better.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:48 pm

8, 000 copies per issue, with eight books a month working out at two a week (yes, I know that's not the actual frequency) still makes 16, 000, of which half the material is reprint and so costs less to produce. Plus, those figures don't include Commando's digital sales. Whichever way you look at it, Dandy is lagging behind seriously.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:46 pm

Blog questioning the accuracy of the Dandy's sales figures :

http://lewstringer.blogspot.com/2011/08/bad-circulation.html

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:55 pm

MLP* wrote:Blog questioning the accuracy of the Dandy's sales figures :

http://lewstringer.blogspot.com/2011/08/bad-circulation.html

Hmm. Lew has a point, methinks. Though admittedly, he's hardly unbiased on the matter (as he says himself). I wonder if someone has gotten their wires crossed, somewhere...

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:22 am

A rather strange article.

http://www.fumboo.com/blog/an-open-letter-to-the-internet/

You don't have to be a failed artist to dislike the new Dandy !

any naysayer can say their kids didn’t like The Dandy but they’re not taking into account the thousands that DID, and the untapped audience that would if they could just be reached"
The reasons for The Dandy audience slide could be many (distribution, advertising, competition etc).

So he seems to be suggesting that the poor sales for the new version are nothing to do with the quality of the contents.
Given that the title is now widely available from Smiths and supermarkets, I'm more inclined to think that people are rejecting the new Dandy based on the contents.
"Seven and a half thousand readers do enjoy it" is not much of an argument. It suggests to me that if the Dandy creators actually listened to their critics rather than slagging them off they might have a title that appeals to a lot more !

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:00 am

Maybe, but he's still right to an extent about distribution. WH Smiths and supermarkets are all very well, but they're not necessarily readily available to kids unless they live near a town centre. Beano, Doctor Who Adventures and many of the other more successful titles at the moment are avalable in newsagents on every high street and in every village and market town, places where you're very lucky to find a Dandy. They have a much greater reach. Speaking for myself, my nearest supermarket is 12 miles away and once there, I'd struggle to find the Dandy stacked probably upside down or back to front on a crammed shelf, but if I want a copy of the Beano I have only to walk to the post office at the end of the road. It makes a difference.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:43 am

The comic has been displayed prominently in my local stores. More so than The Beano in fact.
But it any event, it's certainly no harder to find now than it was in its Xtreme incarnation, when it was selling twice as many copies.

I'm sure factors like the increased frequency of publication or lack of covermount all have an effect but I can't imagine that DC Thomson set out on this revamp with the intention of selling fewer copies. Ultimately I think the content has got to be the determining factor in the title's apparent lack of success.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:50 pm

Perhaps they just need to ditch the new content and return to the lineup they had when the title was at its strongest.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:17 pm

tony ingram wrote:Perhaps they just need to ditch the new content and return to the lineup they had when the title was at its strongest.

I guess DCT need to do their market research and figure out whether kids aren't buying The Dandy because they don't like the current style, or because they are just not interested in buying a weekly "funny" comic with no covermounted gift regardless of the content.

Next year is the 75th anniversary of the title so it would be really sad if DCT were to wind up the title during such an anniversary.

If sales really are as low as 7-8k a week (and for all we know, still dropping) I can't believe a more "traditional" Dandy (for want of a better word) could sell less than the current version. Particularly if they were to go to town with a big marketing push around the anniversary.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:27 pm

I'd like to think they wouldn't ditch the title one year off the 75th, but they can't carry it forever with sales like that. Would they merge it with Beano, I wonder?

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:46 pm

tony ingram wrote:I'd like to think they wouldn't ditch the title one year off the 75th, but they can't carry it forever with sales like that. Would they merge it with Beano, I wonder?

I wonder how many copies Classics From The Comics was selling when it was abruptly axed ? Or the "Fun Sized" comics ?

I think a last roll of the dice would be to turn the Dandy into all, or mostly, reprints. Reduce the frequency to fortnightly or monthly and promote it as a year of "Best of" issues to celebrate the anniversary.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:57 am

REVAMP of the Dandy has backfired and sales of the world-famous comic are at an all-time low, it emerged today (sun).

Scots publishers DC Thomson tried to reverse the comic’s sales decline a year ago by introducing celebrity-based strips and even a Big Brother-style voting system.

But the firm has admitted it is “disappointed” after half the readership abandoned the title and sales plunged to just 7,448.

A spokesman even referred to the Dandy as a “blot” on an otherwise successful period.

Some fans of the comic fear it is only a matter of time before the Dandy disappears altogether, although DC Thomson today insisted they remained committed to the title.

The Dandy was first published, in Dundee, in 1937 and delighted generations of youngsters with characters such as Desperate Dan.

But sales sharply declined in the post war years from their peak of more than 1m.

Household names such as Harry Hill, Cheryl Cole, Simon Cowell and Jeremy Clarkson were drafted in to try to appeal to a new generation of readers.

And fans of the comic were even given the chance to vote to evict their least favourite character from Dandy.

A spokesman for DC Thomson today admitted: “The figures for The Dandy are disappointing and there is no getting away from that.

“The Dandy is the one blot on an otherwise quite successful period for us.

“We will be taking steps to address that, but we are not looking at radical surgery.”

John Freeman, a former editor of the monthly Doctor Who Magazine, claimed The Dandy was facing possible closure.

He said: “Sales are nowhere near where they were even five years ago.

“It would become difficult for them to print the comic if sales dropped below 3,000.”

Mr Freeman added: “I know that comic titles with circulations higher than that have been dispatched.”

The decision to stop attaching free gifts to the front cover could have accelerated the declined of The Dandy, said Mr Freeman.

“Maybe kids don’t want a comic that’s just a comic. Sad news if that’s true,” he said.

Former comic strip artist Kid Robson said the decision to introduce celebrity-based characters is the central reason for the rapid decline of The Dandy.

He said: “The Dandy, in particular, pursues this position to the extent that the fix has resulted in it being far more broken than was the case previously.

“The evidence suggests that the treatment is killing the patient.”

http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2011/09/11/desperate-dandy-comics-celebrity-relaunch-backfired/

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:06 am

Robson's right, i think. Evidently, kids just aren't into the celebrity culture to the extent that some of their parents are (they have more sense), and even if they were, Jeremy Clarkson is hardly a draw for an eight year old...

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:44 pm

tony ingram wrote:Robson's right, i think. Evidently, kids just aren't into the celebrity culture to the extent that some of their parents are (they have more sense), and even if they were, Jeremy Clarkson is hardly a draw for an eight year old...

Yep, I think he's spot on. The supporters of the new look Dandy are claiming "comics sales have been falling since the 50s" while completely missing the point that Dandy sales have collapsed since the revamp. Surely it's worth them at least considering that they've collapsed because of the revamp rather than just being the latest example of a long term decline.

I see that there's a "Support The Dandy" campaign going on.

http://downthetubescomics.blogspot.com/2011/09/british-comics-on-uk-news-stand-where.html

I might be inclined to support it if the comic still looked like the one in that picture.
Sadly I find the current Dandy unrecognisable from its former self and pretty appalling in it's own right.



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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:50 pm

Thing is, I can't see a solution. My answer would be, return the comic to how it was before all the revamps started-but the fact is, it was already losing readers even then! I interviewed Euan Kerr not long ago (again!), and he pointed out (again!) that Dandy's sales have indeed been trailing a long way behind Beano's since the 50's because it never tried to modernise itself back then. Would bringing Black Bob and Brassneck back be the Dandy's salvation? Much as I'd personally love to see it, I very much doubt it...

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:56 pm

tony ingram wrote:Thing is, I can't see a solution. My answer would be, return the comic to how it was before all the revamps started-but the fact is, it was already losing readers even then! I interviewed Euan Kerr not long ago (again!), and he pointed out (again!) that Dandy's sales have indeed been trailing a long way behind Beano's since the 50's because it never tried to modernise itself back then. Would bringing Black Bob and Brassneck back be the Dandy's salvation? Much as I'd personally love to see it, I very much doubt it...

You're probably right. The Dandy would probably have continued it's gradual decline anyway, leading ultimately to cancellation, leaving The Beano as the last survivor of the funny papers.

What the continual revamps seen to have done is hastened that decline as the title has lost it's traditional identity and has floundered around searching unsuccessfully for a new one.


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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:58 pm

Maybe the answer would be to make it a virtual clone of the Beano; bring in some of the formerly popular Beano characters no longer currently appearing, alongside some ex Dandy strips more in the Beano's 'anarchic kids' mould, like the Smasher and Dirty Dick?

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:06 pm

tony ingram wrote:Maybe the answer would be to make it a virtual clone of the Beano; bring in some of the formerly popular Beano characters no longer currently appearing, alongside some ex Dandy strips more in the Beano's 'anarchic kids' mould, like the Smasher and Dirty Dick?

Certainly I think the Dandy's biggest appeal is as a "nostalgia" brand. People remembering the title from their childhood and wanting to pass it on to their own kids.
I think that's the problem with the current version. It doesn't seem to be appealing to kids in its own right (either because their is no toy or because of the content) and adults won't even recognise it as the same comic they used to enjoy.

It's possible a "back to basics" relaunch tied to the anniversary year might work. "The original Dandy back by popular demand." Problem is I suspect with Beano sales also falling alarmingly it might end up cannibalising the Beano's sales.
It might make more sense for DCT to merge the two to shore up The Beano's sales a little more.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:09 pm

Are Beano's sales dropping that much? It always seems to sell out in my local area.

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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by MLP* on Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:16 pm

tony ingram wrote:Are Beano's sales dropping that much? It always seems to sell out in my local area.

Lost half its readership in the last five years. From 74,567 to 37,145.


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Re: Dandy Revamp Doomed?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:19 pm

Ooh, that's not good! Shocked

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