How long has this been in the works?
Jim Lee: As early as when the new management team was announced. There was a digital task force within DC that had been working on it prior to Diane Nelson being named head of DC Entertainment hence some of the delay but the folks on the task force were up to date on what was happening in the digital world. But because of the transition it delayed our jumping into the digital arena.
John Rood: We wanted to see where consumers were going and what they were telling us about what they were reading.
Jim, you’ve been a big proponent of the digital space while Didio has said in the past that his priority is print, but when the transition happened, did you make this a top priority?
Jim: A lot of this stuff had already been in the works but with the transition we wanted to make sure everything was in place and working correctly before we launched with our initiative. And then we needed to figure out the creative participation and listening to and involving the retailer’s point of view into our plan. And to John’s point, getting feedback from the fans in terms of what they wanted from comics whether they wanted everything priced at $1.99 and how many bells and whistles they wanted in it and based on our own internal research as this stuff was coming out. I was definitely checking out all the digital comic book offerings and found that a lot of times certain navigation interfaces were not as sleek and immersive as you would like. So a lot of thought went into what digital comics should be.
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How important is the day-and-date release of Justice League: Generation Lost? Will it last the entire 26-part series? And why not, let’s say, Brightest Day?
Jim: It will last the entire series. Part of the reason why we went with that title is that we’re jumping in fairly quickly compared to the beginning of the launch of the Brightest Day series and we wanted to go with a title that had broad consumer appeal that had all the major characters of the DC Universe. We looked at it as an opportunity to get new readers in and we felt that it was the best title given its relatively recent start and its cast of characters and a storyline being unfamiliar friendly.
How did you determine the tiered pricing? Was it an internal decision or did it have anything to do with ComiXology?
John: It was an internal decision and it gives us a chance to see what pricing scenarios are best received. We have such a rich offering each month that we knew we had a nice mix to present to consumers.
Jim: We’re going to have a lot of stuff that’s free and the $2.99 price point is the same as the traditional published comics. When we go day-and-date the digital comics will cost as much as the print comics. The $1.99 price point is pretty standard in the digital comic space but we wanted to come in at $0.99 price point to see if there is consumer appetite for cheaper comics. We looked at a lot of stuff that wasn’t typically presented in traditional collected form or storylines that might not have caught the reader’s eye the first time around. We wanted to see if there’s a marketplace for those kinds of stories at that price point. The bulk of the books will be $1.99 but like I said, part of our approach is to define the marketplace for digital comics.
Will books be distributed individually or as collections or a mix?
John: Currently this first step into digital publishing is focused on the periodicals but we’re very eager to work with our launch partners and digital partners moving forward to have a digital representation that includes our analog collection, which is a wide array of periodicals, collections and graphic novels. But this launch is focused on the periodical.