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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- No VIP tickets were sold until the site went live.
- While the NYCC website did crash, the separate ticketing site did not.
- 22 (26?) people were accidentally kicked out of the ticketing queue, but all were contacted.
- The ticketing queue moved slowly (up to a two hour wait), but it did move
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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?