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CNN: Who reads the comics anymore?

After the LA Times ran a story quoting comic strip heavy weights Berkeley Breathed, Wiley Miller questioning the future of the American Comics page, the discussion has been spreadign to other publications.

Today on CNN.com, they have a story called “Who reads the comics anymore?” where they delve into the difficulty newspapers have found themselves.  On the one hand they want younger readers which would require hip-per, edgier features like “Pearls Before Swine” and “Get Fuzzy,” but such features are lost on the older generation that is the bread and butter of the newspaper subscriptions.

From Tom Daning, managing editor for United Media:

“They’re looking for something new and edgy, but many of their readers are over 35,” he says. “The whole newspaper industry is antsy. Many are scared to do anything to hurt circulation.” It’s easier to drop a new comic, he says, than something like “Peanuts,” which has an established following.

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Community Comments

#1 mike c
November/30/2007
@ 11:12 pm

age has nothing to do with it if its funny its funny. i like a lot of comics old and new and i dont always think they are funny people laugh at different things

#2 mike c
November/30/2007
@ 4:12 pm

age has nothing to do with it if its funny its funny. i like a lot of comics old and new and i dont always think they are funny people laugh at different things

#3 Malc McGookin
December/1/2007
@ 3:28 am

When did 35 become the cut-off point? I’m over 50 and still enjoy “young” edgy humor. What I’m afraid of is that the syndicated strip business is not attracting the good young artists and writers. It’s certainly not an attractive prospect for professionally-minded and talented people intent on making a living.

With newspaper editors only dealing with syndicates, those newspapers cluttered up with garbage, and the prospect of writing a daily strip for five years before you can anticipate making a living, who can blame tomorrow’s comedy geniuses for looking elsewhere?

#4 Malc McGookin
November/30/2007
@ 8:28 pm

When did 35 become the cut-off point? I’m over 50 and still enjoy “young” edgy humor. What I’m afraid of is that the syndicated strip business is not attracting the good young artists and writers. It’s certainly not an attractive prospect for professionally-minded and talented people intent on making a living.

With newspaper editors only dealing with syndicates, those newspapers cluttered up with garbage, and the prospect of writing a daily strip for five years before you can anticipate making a living, who can blame tomorrow’s comedy geniuses for looking elsewhere?

#5 Rich Diesslin
December/1/2007
@ 5:59 am

Who watches CNN anymore? Who cares what they cover? Not me.

#6 Rich Diesslin
November/30/2007
@ 10:59 pm

Who watches CNN anymore? Who cares what they cover? Not me.

#7 Pab Sungenis
December/1/2007
@ 5:12 pm

Malc, 35 is the cutoff point because of the demographics used by advertising agencies.

Key demographics include 18-34 and 35-54. 18-34 is particularly coveted because most people in that demographic have weak brand loyalties and are more willing to try different products. 35-54 have stronger brand loyalties than 18-34, but more disposable income.

55+ are considered too set in their ways for most advertisers to specifically target them, unless it’s something specifically aimed at that age group (like AARP, life insurance, hair color, etc.).

That’s why papers want to get readers 18-34, because advertisers want to reach those people most of all.

#8 Pab Sungenis
December/1/2007
@ 10:12 am

Malc, 35 is the cutoff point because of the demographics used by advertising agencies.

Key demographics include 18-34 and 35-54. 18-34 is particularly coveted because most people in that demographic have weak brand loyalties and are more willing to try different products. 35-54 have stronger brand loyalties than 18-34, but more disposable income.

55+ are considered too set in their ways for most advertisers to specifically target them, unless it’s something specifically aimed at that age group (like AARP, life insurance, hair color, etc.).

That’s why papers want to get readers 18-34, because advertisers want to reach those people most of all.

#9 Rich Diesslin
December/1/2007
@ 9:04 pm

Then why are they written to a 6th grade level of understanding? ;) (rhetorical question)

#10 Rich Diesslin
December/1/2007
@ 2:04 pm

Then why are they written to a 6th grade level of understanding? ;) (rhetorical question)

#11 Malc McGookin
December/2/2007
@ 2:47 am

Pab, advertisers know absolutely nothing, even about their own business.

There is nary a week goes by without advertisers being proved wrong and commonly held beliefs amongst advertisers being exploded.

Advertising wisdom is akin to the story of the intelligent spider who could understand spoken commands. If told “move two steps right” it would do so. One by one the advertiser pulled off its limbs. Then, when it remained still after numerous instructions, the advertiser pronounced that a spider’s ears were located in its legs.

I don’t doubt that old people are more set in their ways, advertisers don’t need to tell us that, but they are also more perceptive, less likely to be swayed by an undercooked or sophomoric new feature which doesn’t touch them. THAT’s the reason new stuff is unlikely to sway them.

Dumb old people don’t look at the comics, just as dumb younger people don’t. Ask your average 25 year-old bonehead at work to name a comic and he’ll say Mickey Mouse, Superman or Spiderman. Only the brighter bulbs will single out Pearls or Get Fuzzy, and they will include all age groups.

If Dilbert was launched today it would get as much support from the over 60s as the under 30s, the problem is not that older people are intransigent, it’s that there are no more Dilberts.

#12 Malc McGookin
December/1/2007
@ 7:47 pm

Pab, advertisers know absolutely nothing, even about their own business.

There is nary a week goes by without advertisers being proved wrong and commonly held beliefs amongst advertisers being exploded.

Advertising wisdom is akin to the story of the intelligent spider who could understand spoken commands. If told “move two steps right” it would do so. One by one the advertiser pulled off its limbs. Then, when it remained still after numerous instructions, the advertiser pronounced that a spider’s ears were located in its legs.

I don’t doubt that old people are more set in their ways, advertisers don’t need to tell us that, but they are also more perceptive, less likely to be swayed by an undercooked or sophomoric new feature which doesn’t touch them. THAT’s the reason new stuff is unlikely to sway them.

Dumb old people don’t look at the comics, just as dumb younger people don’t. Ask your average 25 year-old bonehead at work to name a comic and he’ll say Mickey Mouse, Superman or Spiderman. Only the brighter bulbs will single out Pearls or Get Fuzzy, and they will include all age groups.

If Dilbert was launched today it would get as much support from the over 60s as the under 30s, the problem is not that older people are intransigent, it’s that there are no more Dilberts.

#13 Pab Sungenis
December/2/2007
@ 2:57 pm

Malc, I didn’t say they were right, just what they thought.

#14 Pab Sungenis
December/2/2007
@ 7:57 am

Malc, I didn’t say they were right, just what they thought.

#15 Malc McGookin
December/3/2007
@ 12:14 am

I know. I didn’t say you said they were right. Just what I thought.

#16 Malc McGookin
December/3/2007
@ 7:14 am

I know. I didn’t say you said they were right. Just what I thought.

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