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DC’s New 52 appealed to avid and lapsed readers, survey finds

DC Comics’ sweeping linewide relaunch appealed primarily to avid fans and lapsed readers, according to the unprecedented survey conducted last fall by the Nielsen National Research Group. The publisher presented the results Thursday in Dallas at the annual meeting of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade association.

More than 70 percent of respondents described themselves as avid fans who visit the comic shop once a week, while more than 25 percent of in-store consumers were lapsed readers. Just 5 percent characterized themselves as new or first-time readers.

Ninety-three percent of respondents were male, and more than 50 percent reported an annual income of less than $60,000 — a figure that John Rood, executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development, told “validated DC’s attempt to hold the price point for most comics to $2.99.” Just 2 percent were under the age of 18, with an overwhelming majority of respondents falling between the ages of 18 and 44 (no real surprise).

Also worth noting: 50 percent of digital readers also read print comics, while just 16 percent of print readers said they read or purchased digital comics. Forty-eight percent of digital buyers were over the age of 35.

The three-pronged survey was conducted between Sept. 26 and Oct. 11, specifically targeting consumers who purchased DC’s New 52 titles. In-store questionnaires — you’ll recall Patton Oswalt’s encounter with a “pushy” Nielsen employee — accounted for 167 responses, while 5,336 came from the online survey. A third group of 626 was pulled from customers who purchased New 52 books through comiXology or the DC app.

Patton Oswalt swears off DC Comics over survey encounter

While some readers had difficulties completing DC Comics’ unprecedented survey about its line-wide relaunch, Patton Oswalt experienced his own problem in the flesh — and he’s not happy about. In fact, his encounter with an employee of Nielsen NRG at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles left the actor-comedian bidding farewell to DC.

“Don’t go to @MeltdownComics today unless you like getting buttonholed into douch-ey, stultifying New 52 surveys,” Oswalt wrote Wednesday on Twitter, saying that he was approached repeatedly by a “pushy” representative of the market research company, even after he said “no” and walked away.

Although the bulk of the reader survey is being conducted online, Nielsen is also going to a handful of direct-market stores nationwide for in-person interviews. Presumably most of those will go a little more … smoothly.

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DC enlists Nielsen to gauge reader, retailer response to the New 52

Not content to rely on across-the-board sellouts and online commentary to gauge response to the New 52, DC Comics has hired Nielsen National Research Group to survey readers and retailers about the line-wide relaunch — the first survey of its kind conducted by a comics publisher.

“As we made clear from the beginning, our goal was to expand the market by appealing to new/lapsed readers, and our initial sales results would indicate that this has indeed happened,” DC said in an email sent Tuesday to direct market outlets. “But we want to do more than just assume any results — we want to find ways to measure it accurately in partnership with you.”

The reader survey is available online through Oct. 7 at the website of Nielsen NRG, the division of Nielsen Media Research that conducts market research for the film industry. Consumers are asked which relaunch titles they bought, and didn’t buy, their comics-buying habits, their overall impression of the relaunch, reasons for purchasing the first issues (and where they bought them), and so on — including whether they plan to preserve any of the New 52 books “as an investment.”

Retailers will be asked to complete a separate survey; Nielsen NRG will also visit a handful of stores nationwide for in-person interviews. According to Previews, DC has promised to release the results of the surveys sometime next year.

(via DC Women Kicking Ass)

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