Wizard World Inc. filed it’s quarterly financials the other day, (this link may be easier) and ICv2 has a succinct write-up. The short version is that running conventions continues to be a profitable business (More than $20 million in revenue thus far in 2015) but shows in new markets can be expensive:
The problem is that the new shows Wizard World is adding, often in secondary markets, are requiring substantial investment and are running negative. The company identified 13 cities in which it had operated profitable live events in the first nine months of 2015: Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Columbus, Portland, Nashville, Austin, Sacramento, Louisville, Minneapolis, Tulsa, Reno and St. Louis. But the company operated 20 shows in the period, meaning that there were 6-7 shows that were unprofitable. Markets in which unprofitable shows were run (based on the company’s 2015 schedule) included such cities as Indianapolis, Cleveland, Raleigh, Las Vegas, and Madison, Wisconsin. We were at the Madison show, for which a company spokesperson described the results at the time as “fabulous” and said there would be a 2016 show (see “A Successful Wizard World Show in the #85 Market in the U.S.”), which has been scheduled.
Still, running conventions with an established infrastructure is a profitable business to be in. No wonder so many people are jumping in.
But not so much ConTV, the VOD joint venture with Cinedigm, which has been a money sink thus far, losing over $1 million so far in 2015. However, ConBox, a Loot Crate type subscription box of goodies. From the 10Q
We expect to produce 26 live events during the year ending December 31, 2015. To date, we have operated profitable live events in Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Columbus, Portland, Nashville, Austin, Sacramento, Louisville, Minneapolis, Tulsa, Reno and St. Louis, but we have operated at a deficit in other events. In order for us to operate a successful event, we must produce an event that is relevant to the public in order to drive admissions, booth sales, sponsorship, and advertising. In order for the Company to grow the digital business, we must attract unique users and drive traffic to our online site. To date, we have exhausted considerable resources developing our media platform, but we have yet to earn a profit from the platform.
In addition, the Company through its subsidiary, Wiz Wizard, launched ConBox in April 2015. ConBox is a subscription-based premium monthly box service featuring collectibles, exclusives, toys, tech and gaming, licensed artwork, superior comics and apparel, Comic Con tickets, special VIP discounts and more, which will be shipped on or around the end of every month. The Company plans to continue to partner with major Comic Con related brands and celebrities to deliver a high quality and variation of products directly to the front doors of its subscribers.
Wizard has reduced its stakes in ContTV to a mere 10% and will only invest another $25K in the venture.
This is of some interest because Lions Gate and Comic-Con International (Aka San Diego Comic-Con) are launching their own VOD service at an unknown time. This service has a lot of muscle behind it so don’t count out nerd-focused content just yet.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.