This week saw the last ever print issue of The Dandy comic.
The Dandy did not feature largely in my childhood (or adulthood), so I’m not emotionally attached to it in any way. Earlier in the week I heard Paul Mitchell’s Thought for the Day on Good Morning Scotland, where he made a connection between the church (at least in the UK) and The Dandy. The Dandy’s circulation reached 2 million copies per week in the 1950’s and dropped to 8,000 per week in recent years. The parallel is not too hard to see.
Which left me wondering… how do you recognise the need to change an ‘institution’? Do you wait for the decline to be indisputable?
Do you listen to the voices advocating change as soon as they emerge?
Do you trust your readers/attenders/customers to stay loyal?
Do you carry on regardless?
Do you initiate change when everything’s just Dandy, or wait until they’re a bit Desperate Dan?
I realise that there isn’t a clear answer to these questions.
However, I admire what the publishers are doing with The Dandy. they will be producing an online only version, making the most of current technology and adding features not possible in print. It’s a bold innovation, presumably trying to appeal to a new audience. I wish them well, although I am not sure that the transition will be successful. But if the alternative is to close down completely, maybe it’s worth trying something new.
Now, where else could this thinking apply? (Answer – just about everywhere that we think of as an ‘institution’ – in my opinion.)