Tag Archives: Sales

Comics vs TV Audience Size

Food for thought:

The Flash has been consistently selling about 38-39,000 copies of each issue since May (with a spike for Villains Month). And that’s a typical mid-range book, successful enough that DC is putting the creative team on Detective Comics. Digital figures aren’t available, but articles typically estimate digital sales at about 15% of print sales across the board. So let’s say around 44K between print and digital.

“Arrow” reportedly pulled in 3.17 million viewers for “The Scientist” guest-starring Barry Allen.

A lot more people watch TV than read comics.

Flash Sales May-July 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve written up sales analysis, partly because of time, and partly because I’m really not sure my analysis means anything. So here are three months of rankings from Diamond and the sales estimates* from ICv2: for #19 in May, #31 in June, and #29 in July, selling roughly 53K copies of Flash #11.

There’s a really steep drop with #10. As The Beat points out, DC stopped shipping a 1:200 variant covers with that issue. Additionally, Flash #10 and Flash #11 both have fill-in artists, which may have led retailers to order less.

We’re also seeing, a year into the New 52, the series dropping below the level where volume 3 settled at around 55K.

It’s been dropping in the rankings as well, but a lot of that can be attributed to Avengers vs. X-Men and Before Watchmen. (Note the sharp drop in rankings between April and May, while estimated sales numbers stayed pretty close.) And the Flash isn’t alone. The New 52 seems to have lost a lot of its initial luster, which is no doubt part of why DC plans to revitalize the line with its Zero Month in September.

Numbers

Issue Rank Month Units Sold % Change
Flash vol.4
Flash v.4 #1 4 September 2011 129,260
Flash v.4 #2 5 October 2011 114,137 -11.7%
Flash v.4 #3 9 November 2011 90,417 -20.8%
Flash v.4 #4 8 December 2011 77,336 -14.5%
Flash v.4 #5 8 January 2012 71,611 -7.4%
Flash v.4 #6 8 February2012 68,061 -5.0%
Flash v.4 #7 11 March 2012 64,975 -4.5%
Flash v.4 #8 11 April 2012 63,702 -2.0%
Flash v.4 #9 19 May 2012 62,807 -1.4%
Flash v.4 #10 31 June 2012 55,681 -11.3%
Flash v.4 #11 29 July 2012 53,674 -3.6%

A few key articles covering past sales (with lots of numbers):

*What these numbers measure: US-only sales, wholesale from Diamond to comics retailers. They don’t count sales through bookstores, they don’t count international sales, and they don’t count how many copies were actually bought and read…but they do measure the same thing every month, which means they can be used to spot trends.

Flash Sales in March & April

After six solid months in the top 10, The Flash dropped down to the #11 spot in March and #14 in April in the rankings based on units sold. Not coincidentally, March featured the launch of Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men event, and a number of related Marvel books pushed aside the better sellers of DC’s New 52. (The Flash was still DC’s #8 book.)

Estimates at ICv2 have the series selling 64,975 issues in March and 63,702 issues in April.

On the downside, the book is selling half what it sold last September. On the plus side, it’s still ahead of the 53K mark it had reached at this point in the previous volume. Better yet, those month-to-month drops are getting smaller, suggesting that it may find its level soon. I’ve suggested before that if it levels out above 55K (where volume 3 settled), the Flash relaunch is probably a success. Though it may be cutting things a bit close.

Update: Christopher Schmitt brings up digital numbers, which I forgot to look for. CBR has been running monthly interviews with Bob Wayne & John Cunningham in which they discuss the month’s sales, including DC’s own digital rankings (but not actual numbers, which most companies are still keeping quiet about). I’ve mentioned before that The Flash doesn’t rank as well digitally, where it hasn’t even made it into DC’s top 10 yet (here’s March). DC released their April Top 20,** and Flash came in at #18 digitally, compared to #8 in print if you look only at DC’s output.

Numbers

Issue Rank Month Units Sold % Change
Flash vol.4
Flash v.4 #1 4 September 2011 129,260
Flash v.4 #2 5 October 2011 114,137 -11.7%
Flash v.4 #3 9 November 2011 90,417 -20.8%
Flash v.4 #4 8 December 2011 77,336 -14.5%
Flash v.4 #5 8 January 2012 71,611 -7.4%
Flash v.4 #6 8 February2012 68,061 -5.0%
Flash v.4 #7 11 March 2012 64,975 -4.5%
Flash v.4 #8 11 April 2012 63,702 -2.0%

A few key articles covering past sales (with lots of numbers):

*What these numbers measure: US-only sales, wholesale from Diamond to comics retailers. They don’t count sales through bookstores, they don’t count international sales, and they don’t count how many copies were actually bought and read…but they do measure the same thing every month, which means they can be used to spot trends.

**It’s not clear how comparable the rankings are, since Diamond’s rankings are for sales over the whole month, and DC’s digital chart here is described as “Best Selling Single issue in a week.” Though since The Flash comes out the fourth week of the month, there probably isn’t much difference.

Flash Sales for February

February estimates at ICv2 have The Flash #6 selling an estimated 68,061 copies, down 5% from the previous month. Given the high profile of the relaunch and the usual trend of series to shed readers over time, it’s hard to say what the numbers really tell us…but the drops are shrinking, the rankings are steady at #8, and it’s still ahead of the 57K sold by Flash vol.3 #6 and the 55K mark where volume 3 settled.

Numbers

Issue Rank Month Units Sold % Change
Flash vol.4
Flash v.4 #1 4 September 2011 129,260
Flash v.4 #2 5 October 2011 114,137 -11.7%
Flash v.4 #3 9 November 2011 90,417 -20.8%
Flash v.4 #4 8 December 2011 77,336 -14.5%
Flash v.4 #5 8 January 2012 71,611 -7.4%
Flash v.4 #6 8 February2012 68,061 -5.0%

It’s worth noting that we’ve had seven issues in a row with no delays and no creative team changes.

Update: I forgot to mention that, like last month, Flash didn’t appear in the digital top 10.

A few key articles covering past sales (with lots of numbers):

*What these numbers measure: US-only sales, wholesale from Diamond to comics retailers. They don’t count sales through bookstores, they don’t count international sales, and they don’t count how many copies were actually bought and read…but they do measure the same thing every month, which means they can be used to spot trends.

Flash Holding Steady as the #8 Comic, Three Months Running

Diamond has released its sales rankings for February, and The Flash #6 comes in at #8 for units sold.*

This marks the third month in a row that the Flash has been ranked #8, and the sixth in a row that it’s been in the top 10. In fact, every issue of the series since the relaunch has been in the top 10. It’s been a long time since the Flash was ranked that highly. Even the high-profile relaunch of Flash: Rebirth dipped below #10 in the middle of its run, and the Geoff Johns/Francis Manapul series spent most of its time in the 11-20 bracket.

Of course the streak will probably break next month when Marvel launches Avengers vs. X-Men, but during the time between giant events, with the series competing mainly against other regular series, it looks solid.

If DC is nervous about this book, the rankings suggest they shouldn’t be.

*Usual note: These are US print sales only.

New 52 Month 5: Flash still in the Top 10

Five months into the New 52, the latest relaunch of The Flash is still a top 10 seller, with Flash #5 taking the #8 stop in Diamond’s sales rankings. ICv2’s estimates put it at 71,611 units sold*.

Comichron points out that January is usually low, but this isn’t bad for a January. (via The Beat) And if January is usually down overall, that means the 7.4% drop for The Flash — the lowest drop since the relaunch — may be exaggerated itself. Could the audience for the series be leveling out near 70K, or in the upper 60s? If so, that’s a big win for DC, because the last volume, written by superstar Geoff Johns, stabilized at sales of about 55,000 copies a month.

Digital Difference

Interestingly, while The Flash is holding steady in the top 10 for North American print sales, it doesn’t appear even in DC’s top 10 digital sales for the month. This could mean that digital readers are less interested in the Flash than print readers, but I don’t think the market is quite so simple as having digital readers and print readers. I suspect that most people who buy digital comics still buy at least some of their comics in print form, and with the art being a big selling point for the book, I’d imagine a lot of them are choosing to keep The Flash on the print side of their list.

Numbers

Issue Rank Month Units Sold % Change
Flash vol.4
Flash v.4 #1 4 September 2011 129,260
Flash v.4 #2 5 October 2011 114,137 -11.7%
Flash v.4 #3 9 November 2011 90,417 -20.8%
Flash v.4 #4 8 December 2011 77,336 -14.5%
Flash v.4 #5 8 January 2012 71,611 -7.4%

A few key articles covering past sales (with lots of numbers):

*What these numbers measure: US-only sales, wholesale from Diamond to comics retailers. They don’t count sales through bookstores, they don’t count international sales, and they don’t count how many copies were actually bought and read…but they do measure the same thing every month, which means they can be used to spot trends.