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Marvel publishing makes millions.
Marvel films and related licensing can, over time, make billions.
Marvel films' success are based, in part, by the good feeling towards their comics, the media buy in of the fans buzz, the A-list actors willing to take lower salaries to be in something cool, the genuine enthusiast experience that is infectious to the mass market.
If the comics get too expensive, the casual fans may drift away. Marvel may make more money at a higher price point, but with less readers, and less buzz. Which, eventually, may impact on the movies and licensing.
However, what if Disney was preemptive? What if Disney want to do something that makes a big impact on the comics business. It may make less money, it may cost them in instant revenue, but it also may reignite the kind of buzz that will help the slew of Marvel and Marvel-related films and merchandise.
What if the comics, rather than creeping towards the $3.99 price, suddenly dropped. To $1.99. Across the board. Sales would rocket, market share would soar, other publishers would be squeezed off the shelves, plastic rings or no plastic rings, comics revenue would fall. But buzz would increase, increase, increase.
It might even just save the direct market. Or it might doom it, if certain retailers have become used to the $3.99 price point. Volume might help though…
Naturally such a publisher would need deep pockets to do this on a mass scale.
Oh, it's Disney.
Lose a million, make a billion. This is not just speculation, I understand it is seriously being discussed at the publisher right now.
And suddenly Vampirella and Fell won't seem that special…
And it might just make Marvel's reluctance to go below $1.99 for digital downloads of single issues moot, and see them support the 99 cent model rapidly becoming the norm…