Sorry we were so brief on our report on Marvel’s 4Q and year-end reports yesterday. You can read the earnings call transcript right here, and as usual, Publishing is mentioned only a few times:

For full year ’08, our publishing division continues to be a strong performer, with 41% of dollar share and 46% unit share in its primary market, the direct market. Our publishing margins are down slightly due to investment in digital media of approximately $2 million net during 2008.


In the actual PR, there’s this:

Marvel’s Publishing Segment net sales increased 9%, or $2.8 million, to $33.1 million in Q4 2008 from $30.3 million in Q4 2007, principally reflecting a larger number of high profile titles being released in Q4 2008, as well as one extra week of sales in Q4 2008. Marvel’s major publishing events in 2008 took place in the final three quarters of the year versus major publishing events in 2007 which took place in the first three quarters of the year. Q4 2008 operating income increased 6% to $13.0 million, an operating margin of 39%, compared to 41% in Q4 2007. The decrease in operating margin reflects investments being made in Marvel’s digital media initiatives.

For the entire year, buoyed by strong DVD sales for IRON MAN and HULK 2, Marvel reported net income of $205.5 million, so that’s one percent of the profits going into R&D for online. A few people have pointed out that maybe Marvel could just set aside an extra boodle so they can afford Mickey Rourke for IRON MAN 2, but you know, Marvel didn’t survive and thrive by throwing money around, which is why that “investment” in digital online is so startling.