Eudicom invites you to its first Webinar

In order to support European comics publishers to move into digital distribution and otpimize their digital strategy and sales, we have developed a series of webinar.

Those webinars are developed for the comics publishers’ needs, where they are able to learn and discuss with experts about digital sales strategy for comics.

Eudicom is very happy to invite you to its first webinar that will take place on 22nd of September 2021 (2-330 pm) and will focus on 2 key topics:

  • How to develop a digital portfolio?
  • Which technology is best to go digital?

The Webinar will last 90 mins online and will include a presentation and a Q&A session with experts from the field.

Please note that registration will close on September 5. You must register before this date to guarantee your participation to the event at the following Eventbrite link:

Qualitative Interviews to Comics publishers in Europe – EUDICOM EU partnership

E- Comics: Changing publishers’ mindset to move from irrelevant sales to a growth digital strategy

During the initial months of the project, more than 30 qualitative interviews have been conducted by the consortium partners about the digital comics market in Europe.

11 countries have been covered by the partners and included comics publishers of different sizes and both having and not having a digital distribution catalogue. The publishers interviewed were also very diverse regarding the types of comics (manga, BD, superhero comics, …) as well as in terms of the language (focus on local comics vs international comics for a specific market) in which they publish.

The qualitative interviews complement the quantitative research that was carried out in the first part of the project highlighting the market differences and the various dynamics in e-comics in Europe.

The goals of the interviews were:

  • To get a snapshot of European comics publishers’ pick on digital comics in Europe
  • To better understand where comics publishers stand towards future digital developments
  • To understand the challenges of distributing digitally
  • To clarify the needs of publishers in their digital strategy
  • To understand the possible role of digital into their sales strategy 
  • To feel the interest and appetite of the comics publishers towards e-comics.

As already seen in the quantitative research, comics culture is very different depending on the countries and the interest in digital differs also a lot, based on the maturity of the general digital offer in the country.

But having said that, many topics/issues are common to most of the publishers in all the countries covered and in the first place:

  • Digital share of comics sales is very low – mostly around 1% or less
  • There is a lack of specialized digital platforms dedicated to comics

Main obstacles accounting for low sales are:

  • Lack of rights available /negotiated for digital distribution
  • Pricing too high due to the absence of discount strategies on digital compared to print (and in a few countries, due to digital books still being applied a higher VAT rate than print ones)
  • No focus on digital as the target audience consists (or is perceived to consist) mainly of comics collectors, who largely prefer print
  • Lack of a real catalogue offer (qualitative and quantitative) in digital
  • Very little knowledge about the necessary technology to be efficient on digital
  • Very few platform opportunities outside the global giants
  • Threat of more piracy
  • Inability to obtain a license for foreign offer in publishers’ local language catalogue, due to the lack of properly secured local e-book platforms
  • Doubts about the value of the current reading options on digital devices
  • The actual demand from customers seems low
  • Only series work in digital

Bottom line: no real digital strategy has been developed by a generation of comics publishers that are not yet digital natives.

Going deeper on the interest for digital distribution, it appears that:

  • Most interviewees think digital will grow with the digital native generation
  • They would be happy to develop digital distribution if they could find a way to make it work with print
  • They have some experience in digital marketing but usually quite limited and relying on scarce resources (very few community managers)
  • The profile of the target audiences for digital is unclear, as they present various experiences: older audience Vs Millennials

To go digital, publishers need some support to help them unlock the potential of e comics.

Some experiences indicate possible ways forward:

  • For one publisher, the digital formats are reaching 16% of the print sales
  • “Digital first“ strategies are developing with some interesting impact
  • Subscription models are offering a real alternative to print (“Read digital, collect physical”)
  • “Chapter by chapter” sales and “Pay as you read” and Freemium models are being tested
  • Work on metadata allows better digital opportunities (“Easier to find, easier to store”)
  • Some publishers have a 100% digital catalogue on top of print, which presents a huge potential
  • Manga style comics appear to be the best bet for digital in terms of target audience, style and device compatibility.
  • The Webtoon model is relatively unknown even though it is recognized with a strong potential and also a threat, if only Korean platforms fill the market in Europe
  • Some publishers are developing European style webtoons as a growth driver

Learning from real examples across Europe is the key to open eyes on digital and change the publishers’ mindset towards e-comics.

Conclusions

For European comics publishers to move into digital, they need support to develop their digital strategy and in particular the articulation between print and digital. They need investment to build their digital catalogue and finance impactful marketing campaigns. They need to explore new business models that are compatible with the print sales but bring forward the digital catalogues, that are expected to grow in the future thanks to the digital native generations. This means a new experience of reading comics needs to be created with efficient devices and platforms offering access to these audiences at the right price.

The pandemic has shown the potential of e-commerce in terms of technology, access, search and use on device. Comics publishers need to integrate digital in their overall strategy and learn from experience to avoid mistakes and increase sales to reach the new generations of comic readers worldwide.

A word from the comics publishers : BHP Comics

A word from the comics publishers : Les Humanoïdes Associés

A word from the comics publishers : Norma Editorial

A word from the comics publishers : Astiberri Ediciones

Eudicom Webinar at Angoulême Session

On 29 January 2021, the European Distribution of E-comics Conference was held at the Angoulême Rights Market.

Representatives of the EUDICOM consortium and the European Commission introduced the EUDICOM project, dedicated to the distribution of e-comics in Europe.

The conference highlighted the activities of the EUDICOM project for the next 18 months with a pan European study on the status of e-comics distribution in Europe.

If you missed this conference, you can now watch it in streaming on this page. Each of the videos presents the different topics discussed during the webinar. You can also find the presentation used during this webinar right here.

Introduction of the session:

Opportunities for the Book Sector:

Project vision, objectives and activities:

Why a project on distribution of E-comics:

Preliminary results from quantitative and qualitative questionnaires:

Focus on the Italian Market:

Focus on the Polish Market:

Focus on the Spanish Market:

Other countries:

Questions and Comments:

Thank you for your support and for watching these videos.

Eudicom Preliminary Results

The research objectives are:

  • Collecting information on the comic book market in Europe
  • Assessing the degree of digitalization of the European comic book market
  • Gathering input for the development of training tools

Following the methodology:

  • Quantitative questionnaire (partners in focus countries France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and all FEP members)
  • Qualitative questionnaire (interviews with publishers and stakeholders)

Preliminary results – general

First, we obtain detailed information from focus countries: France, Italy, Poland, Spain

Then we had comprehensive information from other major markets: Belgium, Germany

And to finish, little information from about 20 more countries.

Initial findings 

The comic book market is only significant in a limited number of territories: Detailed information on comic book sales, especially in digital, is hard to come by. Comics-book publishing is somewhat of a niche sector, often with relatively tenuous links with the rest of the sector (also in association terms). In most cases, the digital penetration in the sector is very low. 

Data on main markets surveyed

In term of production: big markets (FR, DE, IT, ES) produce 3-4,000 new titles per year (France on top), mid-sized ones (BE, PL) 1-2,000 (Belgium punches above its weight).

European comics and manga are the main genres

In term of Publishers: There are 1 00 to 400 in DE, IT, FR (FR has the most), less than 50 in ES, PL, 75 in BE (high given overall size). 

Comics represent 2 to 6% of the publishers’ sales in most territories, with notable exceptions France (15%) and French-speaking Belgium (around 33% of publishing revenues)

Average prices are between 7.50 and 15 EUR, with no clear link with a country’s income. 

Digital catalogues: a few to several thousand titles in IT, ES, DE and more than 20,000 in FR; very few in Poland.

Data on other markets

We found very little information available about their Comics production, likely in the hundreds of titles per year. 

Publishers: often very few, sometimes barely any. 

Turnover: very small share of total market, in most cases <2% (there are exceptions).

Market overview: niche market, mostly based on imported titles. 

The level of digitization is very low. 

Preliminary results of the qualitative questionnaire: 

Digital presence and strategy: Digital presence and marketing but little if any digital products and sales.

Plans to go digital: There is an intention, provided the conditions are ripe.

Attitude towards digital: Positive but cautious; purely digital option not seen as viable

Challenges and opportunities of going digital: Readers’ attachment to paper (collectors), piracy, business models, risk of wrong placement of product (digital media), webtoons; still a potential opportunity. 

Possible use for a dedicated platform: They expect a platform that would be accessible, fair, effective, technologically supportive. 

Preliminary remarks

  • Data collection

Eudicom Project encounter difficulties in finding data and in comparing different countries. We plan to continue or effort throughout the project and we welcome input from all interested stakeholders. 

  • The market

The digital market for comics is very small, there is a huge opportunity for growth if the demand is there, a largely untapped potential. There is potential for our platform to provide support in tapping this potential and there is a risk that non-European players fill that void. 

Italian comic books in numbers: the production

  • 265 actives publishers
  • 2,904 new releases in 2019
  • Average price: 14.07 €
  • 28,023 books in commerce

Italian comic books in numbers: digital production

  • 603 digital new releases 
  • 21% of printed titles
  • + 63% compared to 2019
  • Average price: 9.3 €
  • 67% of the printed version
  • 3,776 digital books in commerce
  • 13% of printed titles)
  • + 38% compared to 2019

Total sales 2020 in book trade channels: 43 million €

+42% vs. 2019

This does not include sales in «fumetterie», newsstands and during fairs and events

Boom in last 2-3 years of comics books series sold in bundle with newspapers

Polish comics market in numbers

  • 2019 – 1144 titles published
  • 2020 – 1032 titles published
  • It’s 10 times more than 20 years ago, and 3 times more than 10 years ago. 
  • In recent years, more comics have been published in Poland each year than in the entire communist period combined.
  • More than 40 publishers.
  • One big corporate entity – Egmont that has 25-30% of the market. 
  • Two manga publishers who each has 13-15% of the market. 
  • Ten more publishers who each has 2-3% of the market. 
  • Publishers specialized in comic book types – european comics, american comics, manga, polish comics, graphic novels.

Digital comics in Poland

  • Fledgling market.
  • Some suspended experiments in the past years.
  • Manga publishers developing their own platforms – Studio JG (more than 100 titles), Waneko (40-50 titles), JPF (2).  
  • One publisher participating in the European platform with polish comics in English – timof comics in Europe Comics.

Spanish book market 2019

Total new titles:

  • Paper 60,737
  • Electronic 21,607
  • New comic titles:
  • Paper 3,243
  • Electronic 289

Turnover (domestic market; VAT included):

  • Global 2,421 million €
  • Comic 63 million €

ANGOULEME RIGHTS MARKET CONFERENCE : Study on status of European Distribution of E-comics

Join us for a webinar on Jan 29, 2021 at 11:00 AM CET. 

Register now!

Study on status of European Distribution of E-comics

In partnership with EUDICOM, the Angoulême International Rights Market welcomes a round table. Representatives from the EUDICOM consortium as well as the EU Commission will present the EUDICOM project activities for the next 18 months and will be happy to show the results of the first pan European study on the status of distribution of e-comics in Europe.

EUDICOM consortium partners are : Izneo (Fr), Italian Association of Book publishers (IT), Spanish Association of Book Publishers (SP), Polish association of comics (PL) and Federation of European Publishers (BE) 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.