Academic journal article Competition Forum

Whovians, Unconditional Consumers of Dr. Who Merchandise

Academic journal article Competition Forum

Whovians, Unconditional Consumers of Dr. Who Merchandise

Article excerpt


The collection sales market has recorded annual sales of nearly $10 billion (, 2015) just in Internet sales. This market includes toys, of which the most famous, Star Wars figures, has loyal followers of the films among their buyers.

The Whovians are fans and collectors of products from the British series "Doctor Who," a TV show that appeared in 1961 and is still running today. The licensed Doctor Who products market has reported sales of over $100,000 (data from July 21, 2014, at Report.html) only in products related to the 50th anniversary of the series. Despite the importance of this market, there is no identification of the consumer's profile, the Whovian, who equals the rest of consumers of figures, prints, etc. or is treated under the parameters that would be used for the fans of American football.

The identification of the consumer profile, Whovian, represents an opportunity to increase sales in this segment and increase market participation in toy collecting. For many market research agencies, the fan of one series is the same as another, without distinction, however, with different characteristics and needs. That is why it is very important to distinguish among them in order to generate strategies of marketing according to their motivations, needs and pockets.


Fandom as Consumers

Fandom is a word formed by the contraction pf words Fanatic and Kingdom, and is used when we talk about a group of fans of a hobby, person or some specific phenomenon (, 2015). Fandoms are groups of eccentric fans obsessed with some particular topic, such as a television series, actors or collectibles of some kind; they are people who govern their lives from their obsession with a particular program or product (Jenkins, 2002).

Johnson (2012) adds that fandoms are "groups of eccentric fans obsessed with some topics, such as a TV series, actors, or some collectable item." Usually these persons center their lives on their obsession for the television serial or some products (Jenkins, 2013). Such fandoms create small economies called gift economies. As fans, they have the need to create societies where they give themselves and receive gifts as a show of participation and socialization within the fandom (Pearson, 2010).

The fact of being a fan implies more than just admiring or following a specific character or program, because the fans organize their activities and their daily lives according to what they admire, since they need to strengthen the relationship with the media product that is the object of their admiration and the activities, products and actions related to them (Thompson, 1995). Fans, therefore, means the active members of the fandoms are active media consumers (Jenkins, 1992) who build their own culture from popular culture (Meyer, 2007).

There are several types of fans, among which stand out the poachers who are the fanatics, who pretend to form a new concept from the already established (Jenkins, 2013). Within this group are cosplayers, cross players and fan fiction. Cosplayers are fandoms (from series, cartoons, books or fantasy products and science fiction), that pay tribute to their idols by characterizing themselves as their idols (Winge, 2006). Cross players are cosplayers, who often use their talent to play characters of the opposite sex (Leng, 2014).

Fan fiction, on the other hand, is the literature created by fandoms and fans, based on existing characters and stories (Black, 2005). This activity has been affected by the Internet era because fans have been able to reach out to share their fan fiction with more fandoms and even perform collective fan fiction (Pearson, 2010).

Nomadic fans are those who go from one fan community to another and are adaptable to each of these communities, because they are not totally loyal to a particular product or program; their level of fanaticism is fickle and changes over time (Jenkins, 1992). …

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