Overshipping Marvel Universe Titles – Are We Jumping The Gun? (Update – No, Apparently Not)

Posted by January 5, 2017 Comment

Earlier today, while I was in the pub, Heidi MacDonald at Comics Beat reported that retailers had been told by Marvel,

10% EXTRA FOR FREE ON MARVEL UNIVERSE JANUARY SHIPPING TITLES!
As a thank you to Retailers, Marvel will be sending an additional 10% of FREE copies for all of January shipping Marvel Universe titles! For all orders made by FOC, Marvel will be sending 10% extra at no cost to Retailers!

She then said,

Since Diamond’s charts are based on what they ship to retailers, this extra 10% might be included in unit and dollar market shares…giving Marvel a little boost.

Now this is inconsistent with what Bleeding Cool has previously reported, that such overships affect how Diamond Comic Distributors reports unit share in its monthly charts, but NOT dollar share – they are after all, free. Whether they should affect unit share or not is another matter – as is whether there should be greater acknowledgment of a book that is ordered as returnable, or whether of not a Loot Crate sale should be counted – these questions are common.

But Diamond representatives have told Bleeding Cool in the past that overships do affect unit share but not dollar share. In the past Marvel SVP David Gabriel has been specific to state that they don’t affect dollar share – but not mention unit share. And by running the numbers on Marvel books that we know have had overships, we have been able to show a distinct anomaly between the unit share and the dollar share on such books explained away only by the inclusion of free overship in one field but not the other.

But Heidi then ran an update saying,

I have been told by a Marvel spokesman that this 10% will NOT be counted in Diamond’s number. That is consistent with how Marvel handles overships on other product launches

I would ask if the Diamond number is the dollar share? Because if it is consistent with how Marvel and Diamond handle overships on other books, then, yes, it is counted in Diamond’s unit share numbers.

While I was still in the pub, Bleeding Cool’s Jude Terror went to town on Marvel based on Heidi’s original report without questioning it too much – and it’s true, if Marvel does ship 10% extra of all their Marvel universe titles in January, that would heavily affect Diamond stats – but just the unit sales and not the dollar amounts.

Guess which ones are usually recognised. I’ll give you a clue, it’s the unit sales.

But there’s something else aside from the number discrepancies that stuck out for me.

Everyone is assuming that the 10% covers all January Marvel universe titles. And I’m not sure that it does. For a start, we’ve had a week of them this week without a reported line-wide overship.

What if, rather than the Marvel universe titles as a whole, they are referring to the Marvel Universe line. You know, the All-Ages line based upon the animated series and aimed at younger readers.

Which, in January, consist of these three titles…

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MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS: ULTRON REVOLUTION #7
Adapted by Joe Caramagna
THE SHOCKING CONCLUSION TO THE THUNDERBOLTS!
• In an epic showdown, it’s the AVENGERS versus the THUNDERBOLTS!
• When it’s revealed that the Thunderbolts are actually a villainous team posing as a heroic one, can the Avengers count on them to turn on their leader, BARON ZEMO?
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99

MARVEL UNIVERSE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #16
Adapted by Joe Caramagna
RONAN THE ACCUSER RETURNS!
• When one of their oldest foes returns with a deadly plan, will STAR-LORD and the rest of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY prove enough to stop him?
• It’s an epic showdown for the fate of the KREE SUPREME INTELLIGENCE…
• …and a battle that will define the very nature of brains versus brawn.
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99

MARVEL UNIVERSE ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN VS. THE SINISTER SIX #7
Adapted by Joe Caramagna
AGENT VENOM: CAPTURED!
• SPIDER-MAN and SCARLET SPIDER are on the case to save their trapped teammate…
• …but first, they must overcome KRAVEN, the best hunter the universe has ever seen!!
• Who knew spiders could be so good at getting themselves into sticky situations?
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99

A ten percent additional overship of just these three titles won’t exactly break the bank – or indeed affect the statistics that much.

Could everyone have both rushed forward here without considering all possibilities? I have asked Marvel reps, but they have not yet responded. But, at this point, could this be a possibility worth considering?

If so, it’s a mountain out of a molehill.

UPDATE: No, it’s a mountain again. I have had it confirmed by Marvel that it’s the whole Marvel superhero line, but not comics like Dark Tower, Star Wars and the like…. 

I’ll blame it on the pub.

(Last Updated February 28, 2017 8:00 pm )

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