IDW falling

Bounding Into Comics reports that IDW’s President just resigned:

Ozer is the latest in a number of executives at IDW to exit from the company. In July, IDW Media Holdings CEO and co-founder Ted Adams took a leave of absence with McCluggage replacing him. Adams had previously been the IDW Publisher, but made the transition to CEO last November.

IDW Publishing’s Editor-in-Chief and former Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall also stepped down from the company in March of this year. He had been with the company for 14 years.

According to The Outhousers, there have been a number of staff leaving the company including “in positions such as graphic design, accounting, editing, and public relations.”

This departure also comes after IDW saw a significant decline in revenue in fiscal year 2017. According to Publishers Weekly, “Revenue at IDW Publishing fell 12.1{64c1a3d9a40559511922326ab01596b0c1a24761117e0e4906b04888ba2118a8} in the fiscal year ended October 31, 2017, compared to fiscal 2016.”

Total sales for the publishing arm were down to $24.5 million, down from $27.9 million. IDW blamed “a cyclically slow period in the comic book specialty market” and their transition to Penguin Random House for distribution for the decline.

However, IDW Entertainment did see a slight increase in revenue for fiscal 2017. It rose from $16 million to $16.2 million.

Total revenue at IDW fell 7.5{64c1a3d9a40559511922326ab01596b0c1a24761117e0e4906b04888ba2118a8} to $60.4 million. The company also suffered a net loss of $797,000 compared to $3.7 million in earnings in fiscal 2016.

With the amount of top executives leaving IDW in the past year, could the company be in big trouble?

It certainly looks that way. I’m not at all surprised since I already noticed IDW, the #4 comics publisher, was on a downward trajectory when I was running the numbers on the industry last December. While the publishing-related declines at Marvel and DC have been even steeper, they are protected from the consequences by being part of massive corporate conglomerates. Being a public company, IDW is useful because it gives insight into the industry not available at Disney-owned Marvel and Warner Bros.-owned DC. Notice that despite IDW primarily producing comics based on IP owned by other companies, more than half its revenue is nevertheless derived from the non-publishing division. In other words, from licensing and developing IP rather than selling comics.

That’s why IDW is in more difficult strategic position than Marvel or Disney. Content is now king and they don’t own the comics-related IP they are publishing. Of course, it doesn’t help that they don’t have a corporate giant to run them at a loss indefinitely, but that’s beside the point.

In June, IDW’s top-selling comics were: Sonic, Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Ducktales (Disney), Transformers, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Tangled (Disney), and 30 Days of Night #6. Only the latter MIGHT be IDW-controlled IP, and it has sold fewer copies than Alt-Hero #1.

Hence all the interest in Arkhaven…. Except for TMNT and GI Joe, IDW doesn’t even publish any properties that we would want to publish, so imagine how little interest there must be at Image and Dark Horse, let alone Marvel and DC.

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