Toy Collecting
Beyond The World's Finest
By Hervé St-Louis
February 12, 2007 - 21:01

After manufacturing and distributing action figures based on its stable of properties, DC Comics, through it new brand called DC Unlimited will offer collectible items based on properties not owned by Time Warner nor DC Comics. This new directive is a fine complement to the existing business DC Comic’s merchandising division DC Direct. However, this is a mined battlefield.

Several other vendors occupy the collectible action figure niche market. One of the assets of DC Direct was that it owned its own licenses and had access to some of the most popular fictional characters. Much of its audience was captive as the many characters it produced were through market forces, exclusive to the unit. However, selling Warcraft and Afro Samurai action figures is a different matter.

Whether DC Unlimited has exclusive access to these properties or not, collectors will be more demanding than the typical DC Direct collector, They will also be less forgiving. DC Direct has a history of production problems. It cannot mass produce action figures effectively because it lacks proper quality control measures. Larger and smaller competitors in this niche do not have this problem.

Historically, Time Warner tried to develop a strong merchandising unit in the form of the Warner stores but this division was closed many years ago for lack of a performance. Although DC Direct has had a better record, and fewer expenses to worry about, it is still not one of the top performers in its market. It remains to be seen whether DC Unlimited can mass produces something that it doesn’t own successfully.

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