nycc-cosplay-consentOnce again, Lance Fensterman and staff appeared at the end of the show to hear feedback from attendees.
For the first time, there was a queue before the actual panel, and the room had a good attendance.
Who else was on the panel?

  • Jackie Williams, Brand Marketing Manager
  • Peter Tatara, International Director, Content and Marketing (responsible for panels)
  • Brian Stevenson, Brand Marketing Director (responsible for Merchandise and Fan Experience
  • Matt Wasowski, Festival Director of New York Super Week
  • Jenny Martin, Account Executive (Sales Team)

So, this year’s Zeitgeists:

Main Stage and Empire Stage

At a previous Q&A, an informal poll was taking of clearing the halls.  An online survey showed a 70% approval for clearing the halls.  Overall, attendees appreciated the new system, and it worked well.  However, there was a problem with the Empire Stage (Hall 1E).  There is no room for queuing people for upcoming panels outside the hall.  (1D is connected to the stockyards in 1C, and can feed directly into the hall.)

The Walking Dead panel is always the most popular, and it caused the most concerns with security, communication, and safety.

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One attendee suggested that there be a better system for allowing people in those halls easier access to restroom during the event.  (Another example of better security communication.)

100+ security guards were added to the show contingent over last year, and ReedPOP always tries to improve communication.

Reed is open to better streaming of the events, perhaps increasing the number and distribution of screens around Javits.

Some armbands had similar colors.  Reed did use every color available from their supplier.

General Panels

Many attendees criticized the difficulty of attending the panels in 1A.

Camping for those panels is now as problematic as the camping which once occurred in the big media panels.

Some people were observed as sneaking in via side doors.

It was suggested that the RFID badges be used to make reservations (which generated a mixed response from the audience).  Lotteries, wristbands, clearing the room are all possible solutions which will be considered.

Also, it would help if the mobile app updated the occupancy status for each panel.

Cosplay

One of the problems which actually hit the web during the show: the new weapon policy, and Reed’s policing, causing many cosplayers to be disarmed.

Why are retailers allowed to sell blades if such weapons would be in violation of the show’s rules?  The answer: the vendors must sell items boxed and sealed.  Once an attendee opens that box, the weapon will be quarantined.

Ticketing

Why were 3-Day and 1-Day tickets both sold simultaneously?  Reed decided to couple the option to reduce disappointment.  4-Day tickets sold out fast, and then customers had to wait for the next sale.  By offering both 3- and 1-Day tickets, Reed didn’t want customers to have to wait for single-day tickets to go on sale at a later date.

Lance quashed many rumors about the site crashing:

  1. No VIP tickets were sold until the site went live.
  2. While the NYCC website did crash, the separate ticketing site did not.
  3. 22 (26?) people were accidentally kicked out of the ticketing queue, but all were contacted.
  4. The ticketing queue moved slowly (up to a two hour wait), but it did move
  5. Reed hates scalpers as much as attendees.  They reduced the number of tickets per order from 10 to 6.  Orders were scanned for possible multiplicity, and those orders were cancelled.
  6. They try to go after eBay sellers, but it’s a cat-and-mouse situation.

Some comics retailers did sell tickets before the publicized hour posted by Reed.  Reed is aware, and is working to correct this next year.  Apparently, the downtown store of Midtown Comics caused a small riot with an early sale of tickets.

One attendee had tickets lost in the mail, and lauded the excellent customer service provided in getting replacement badges.  That department handled twice the number of calls from last year.

Programming

Can exhibitors do a better job of advertising the guests signing at the booths?  Yes.  They are encouraged to share the information, although some have short notices.

Can more Golden Age / Silver Age / underground / legendary comics creators be invited to the show?  Yes.  Special Edition was created to help meet this demand.

More physical maps of Artists Alley in the rows would be appreciated, as would accessibility on the mobile app.

Super Week

Why were Super Week cards automatically added to multi-day sales?  Can it be separated?  Yes.  Reed wanted to promote the event this year.

What were the perks?  Why did the Hammerstein Ballroom charge $39-$175 for an event which was also scheduled for NYCC?  Reed wanted to offer the opportunity to those who could not attend the event (or wish to stand in line to get in).

Tally: 110 events, 25 venues, 10 days.

Other Stuff

Reed was lauded for partnering with The Mary Sue regarding the new harassment policy, and the Geek Girl Headquarters in 1E02.  Also, the Brooklyn Defender beer was tasty.  (I did not sample it, but did drink at The Beer Authority, which did partner with Reed.  Recommended…a great selection of varietals!)

One fan was confused about the posted signs.

One fan was disappointed that there was not a NYCC collector pin this year, and that his collection was thus interrupted.  They’ll consider a retroactive pin, and perhaps offer one for next year.

How well did the new notification system work via the mobile app?  There were less than ten complaints (as of Saturday), and security handled each incident quickly and efficiently.  (I can’t find any incidents online.)

In Closing…

Javits staff closed down the panel at 6:10 pm, but Lance and company continued to interact one-on-one with attendees as the room was dismantled.

My con diary will be available as soon as I recover from everything, yet I found that this show ran extremely well given the 151,000 tickets sold.  I think most will laud the show.  Aside from the “new normal” of instant sell-outs and high demand for programming, it seems that ReedPOP has worked out most of the problems of previous shows.  There will always be new policies and challenges, but Reed always strives to improve with each show.  Reed will be sending out surveys soon, and you can reach most of the staff via their bio page.

Feel free to comment below.  What did you like or dislike about the show?  What was your mileage?

7 COMMENTS

  1. Personality I think that they need to stick with one system and stay with that one system . The wristband should only be giving out at that moment 45 mints before the panel starts. As a general manager of msg we know how to limit and control our crowd. So it made absolutely no kind of sense for people to camp out to get into a panel when they should arrive 45mints before the show starts. The wristband issue not every single person did not know about it until now and that’s when they was giving them out until the moment people was standing online for the panels. I’m sorry they don’t know how to stick with the system.

  2. I continue to be impressed with ReedPOP and their accessibility. They are a really great example of why two-way communication with your public is so important. There were problems, yes, but I felt confident when they happened that ReedPOP would deal with them if I felt moved to contact them about it.

    My problem was the uneven security response. Some yellow shirts were FABULOUS, I shook their hands and thanked them for being so courteous to those of us really trying to abide by the rules-even if we were confused by them initially in some cases. Others were so nasty and defensive when I pointed out they hadn’t answered my question. But that’s not a ReedPOP issue, that’s a Javits issue-and a problem at many large convention events I’ve attended across the country. Security employee groups just always seem to have a few bad apples a little too excited that they get to exert authority…

  3. I think ReedPop really improves with each show. They do their best to be proactive in every situation and their reaction time to situations is also excellent. We had a couple of issues with speaker badges that were quickly resolved by the ReedPop team. I was also glad to see show staff positioned blocks from the Javits giving information and direction to everyone approaching the convention center.
    I’d also like to thank them for including and promoting the professional development programming. Each of the educator/librarian sessions I sat in on were near or at full capacity-which clearly shows the investment and interest by all involved. In our panel: Comics to Expand Your Brain we had journalists from Publishers Weekly, The New York Post, Library Journal, and The Book Report Network…and it was standing room only.
    I wish more cons would see the value in this kind of programming. It encourages a greater use of comics in the educational space, which encourages more students to become creators, publishers, scientists, educators, even studio execs.

  4. I was really impressed by this year’s Comic-Con. I think the anti-harassment policy really worked well. I posted on my Facebook that this was probably the best experience I’ve had cosplaying at a large convention re: onlooker behavior and harassment. I only had one person touch me in a too-familiar way without permission the entire weekend, and even that was on my shoulder. And when I told him he couldn’t have a photo, he didn’t push it. I heard non-cosplaying fans sticking up for cosplayers whom they felt were being mistreated, loudly and vocally.

    I also noticed that people were really respectful when I asked them to let me clear a vendor aisle before taking a photo. I hate to block people’s booths and I found photographers to be patient and respectful this year in a way they haven’t always been in the past.

    On the weapons policy: I think it’s one of the most effective and cosplay-friendly weapons policies I’ve seen. The problem, from my perspective, this year, came from the fact that it was a little tricky to find and interpret on the con website, but one of my friends called ahead and Reed Pop was friendly and efficient in explaining it in more detail so we knew which weapons were okay to bring. It’s a much better policy than at other cons, and falls in line with the tap-in system (fabulous for cosplayers who don’t want to wear a badge all day) and the new lottery system, which seems a lot more fair and conducive to a more positive con experience for everyone. The new weapons policy means you can bring in pretty much anything you want, and not worry about them being zip-tied to your costume or rendered impossible to pose with, as long as it is unlikely to harm someone if they are hit with it. I think there’s a little backlash this year because it’s new and people have invested money over the years into weapons that no longer suit this policy, but it’s possible to buy or make really nice craft foam and papier mache weapons that will break (and are easy to repair) before bludgeoning someone by accident.

    I really love how responsive Reed Pop is to feedback from year to year, and that they actually try new things to ameliorate complaints from previous years.

    The Mary Sue room was PHENOMENAL. My only concern is that once other people know about it, it’s going to be overcrowded in future years. Maybe they can have a few different rooms around the con sponsored by different groups?

    The one thing I would still like to see them do is work on making it clearer to newcomers what Artists’ Alley is and where it is and how to get to it. I spoke to a few people who did not even know it existed and missed it entirely.

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