Dr. Horrible by the numbers
Now that we've all had a chance to take in and digest the saga of Dr. Horrible, one of the big questions is "Did it work?" It certainly seemed to work for the viewers. In our poll, an astounding 74.2% of you gave it 5 out of 5. Another 22.5% went with 4 out of 5. The bigger question though, is did it work out for everybody on the money end? And I ask that rather selfishly. Sure, I'd like to see Whedon, Fillion, Harris, Day, and the whole crew make a few bucks. But really, I'm more concerned with getting to see more of the story. If the numbers worked out for all involved, the chances of that happening increase greatly.
Jeffrey McManus has made some educated guesses at just how the numbers shake out for those involved. The short version of McManus' analysis: At a million iTunes downloads he has the principle actors bringing in something in the neighborhood of $100,000 with Whedon coming in at around
$4 million $2.6 million. I'm not sure how feasible one million iTunes downloads on iTunes is, but I do know that at the moment Dr. Horrible counts for 3 of the top 4 episodes and the top season on the U.S. lists. Add in the international markets and it's certainly not an outlandish goal.
For what it's worth, Whedon chimed in on the McManus article in the comments over at Whedonesque, noting that the estimates were not far off, as far as he noticed. He also adds that all of those involved with the production did it for the fun, even though the scads of money would be nice.
And, of course, none of that takes into account the two other obvious revenue streams. Is there any reason to think that the DVD won't be successful? I'm sure there are those that passed on the iTunes purchase who are waiting for the DVD. And I'm just as sure that there is a large portion of those that did get the iTunes episodes that will also add the DVD to their collection. The same goes for the soundtrack, which is definitely coming. The Dr. Horrible twitter account was updated this morning with the message, "Working on the soundtrack. Polishing shoes for the Con." It's not unthinkable that a good portion of the Dr. Horrible fan base will buy the thing in all three different media.
What it means for the future of our entertainment is a little bit more murky. I liken the success of Dr. Horrible to that of Radiohead's In Rainbows experiment. Both of them are astounding successes, but both of them rely largely on the fact that there were huge followings beforehand. I'm sure that somewhere out there on the internet someone has already made a show that is in the good doctor's league. Unfortunately, their name isn't Joss Whedon, so getting the word out becomes worlds more complicated.
It is a good first step though. A few more projects built on this model, with recognizable names involved, could draw enough eyeballs that some of those lesser known creators may start to gain some traction.
|All of them. Anything they release, I'm on board.||764 (26.7%)|
|Three. iTunes, DVD, and the Soundtrack for me.||357 (12.5%)|
|Two. No need to go all crazy.||857 (29.9%)|
|Just the one is all I need.||683 (23.9%)|
|None. The streaming release was good enough.||202 (7.1%)|