ICv2 has an interview with ReedPOP czar Lance Fensterman which covers a lot of growth items for NYCC (Hint: more venues not more days) and also the ongoing con saturation we’re seeing:
There has been growth in the number and size of shows with some consolidations and some players beyond Reed rolling up some of these shows. What’s your feeling of where we are on the curve, on the maturity level, of the geek culture show business in North America?
On one hand I would say the market for these sorts of events is starting to saturate; however fans will go to a show every weekend if it’s a cool show. I think the saturation is more so on the side of content and by content, I mean exhibitors, brands, guests, studios. They don’t need that many shows. If you can create a compelling event without relying on brands and guests and that content, fans will come, but it’s got to be a cool show. So I say it’s consolidating, but with a bit of a caveat there. I also think consolidation is not done; in fact it will probably accelerate in some places. You’re going to see probably a handful of entities that will hold the majority of the larger events, would be my prediction.
So it comes down to how many shows can Norman Reedus do?
Or how many shows does Marvel really want or really need to promote to the fan base? Or pick any brand—Activision, same question. The other side, the dealer guys, whether they’re selling comics or toys or videogames, they’ll go to any show where there’s an audience that they can sell product to. Fans don’t want to pay a ticket price to come in to spend money. There needs to be content that is engaging, exciting and unique. And there’s a limited quantity on that.
This backs up what I’m hearing: fans are still hungry fr the con experience but exhibits and pros simply have to be more selective. I definitely think we’ll be seeing more people charging to go to shows down the road, and this will change even more things.
Fensterman also mentions that a big player called Artexis Easyfairs is taking over a lot of European shows.