A New York Comic Con tradition, Lance Fensterman and his leadership staff hosted the final panel of New York Comic Con 2016, “NYCC Team Q&A“!
We hope that you had an awesome time at NYCC this year! The NYCC Team will sit down with Fans to hear your thoughts on the Show and let you help build NYCC 20167 [sic… ha!]
This panel, like previous years, had the usual outline: ReedPop does something different to improve fan experience at New York Comic Con; fans grumble online; attendees line up to give kudos and critiques, as well as suggestions; Lance and staff listen, comment, communicate, and converse with everyone in the room (usually for an hour afterwards as well!); people are civil and want to help ReedPop do better.
So, what were the topics of discussion?
One 11-year attendee from Pennsylvania lauded the Wi-Fi service. “The Wi-Fi was phenomenal.” Mike Armstrong noted that they did not have a sponsor for the service this year, but that Javits stepped up and offered the service for free, knowing how important it was to attendees. (Your tax dollars at work! I didn’t use it, but others lauded the connection as well!)
Attendees has mixed things to say about the fan verification system instituted this year to prevent wholesale/mass purchases of tickets.
One commentator suggested that instant notification be given next year once the purchase was approved.
Mike Armstrong noted that in 2015, one individual attempted to purchase 400 tickets, and that he frequently analyzes spreadsheets to discover anyone trying to game the system.
Lance Fensterman noted that they don’t persecute anyone trying to sell an extra ticket, that he even uses StubHub for professional sporting events.
ReedPop has a meeting scheduled next week with box office partner ShowClix to further refine the system.
There was criticism about ReedPop reopening fan verification, and the decision was hotly debated in-house.
Lance mused that perhaps they should sell tickets after business hours…
One attendee hoped that ReedPop would add fan verification to other ReedPop events, such as Pax, to better increase ticket availability.
Some requested a return of the VIP tickets, as it offered convenience.
Others noted that some had to buy a string of single-day tickets after 3-day and 4-day passes sold out quickly. Perhaps the system could either consolidated those purchases into a multi-day ticket, or perhaps offer a two-day ticket. There was also the suggestion that each type of ticket be sold on different days, as in the past.
The Empire Stage was missed, and that the Experiential Zone seemed a bit light. Mike noted that while the Empire Stage offered 2700 seats, the Theater at Madison Square Garden seats 5500. The Walking Dead Panel had seats available until an hour before the event.
Some hoped that MSG events could be added to the badge reservation tapping system used for the Main Stage. Mike noted that the new tapping system worked very well in its first year.
One attendee had a photo-op scheduled for 4:30 PM, with the celebrity actually appearing at 6:30. No general announcement was made, either in person, or via social media.
There needed to be better signage at Javits directing people to the off-site venues.
NYCC referred to the Hammerstein Ballroom, when the building is actually known as Manhattan Center.
There were many logjams of attendees trying to enter the Green Entrance. Part of that was caused by a change decided late Thursday night, which could not be communicated Friday morning. Mike noted that at the peak hour of 10-11 AM, about 20,000 people are trying to enter the building. This year had the largest NYPD presence.
To prevent congestion from subway surges, various entrances were used create further gridlock.
ReedPop has considered street closures, but noted it’s not a question of money (which can be expensive), but more of “would this help solve the problem?”
It was suggested that a FAQ be created for fans, to minimize annoyances, and to make the overall experience more enjoyable.
- Avoiding stupid requests from fans (hugs, for example) by taking questions online via a specific hashtag.
- Signage advertising cosplay changing rooms, to discourage people using public restroom stalls and creating a backlog.
- There was signage discouraging cosplay photos on the show floor, but that was not specifically enforced [I did not experience any blockages, and only saw one sign.]
- Better enforcement of lines for panels, to reduce line jumping. Also, there was a perception of line jumping from an attendee who stood in line at 6:30 AM, although that line jumper could have been an exhibitor or someone with proper credentials to enter at that entrance.
As reported here, Peter David said some hurtful things while on a panel at New York Comic Con. The question/criticism was the lack of a response from ReedPop when asked.
Lance corrected that oversight by directly defining the situation and that ReedPop would be further discussing this in the near future.
Kristina also apologized, as there was some miscommunication among staff.
A representative from We Need Diverse Books stated that diversity panels were scheduled against each other, and that BookCon panels did not model diversity with panelists. (ReedPop has partnered with WNDB since 2015, when BookCon was criticized, and then corrected, their diversity of panels.)
A librarian representing school librarians from the New York Public School system asked that the professional panels offered could be improved.
There were fewer complaints regarding attendees with a medical sticker, there were concerns. One attendee offered that she would fill out more paperwork to verify her status if it would prevent others from gaming the system. (Kristina noted that this was not legal.) There was also problems with ramps being blocked by attendees, and that for many, people in wheelchairs become invisible. The best solution is that ReedPop should better communicate their needs to the general public, similar to the “Cosplay is not consent” campaign of a few years ago.
One attendee checked last year’s Q&A notes, and asked about the tolerance of strollers and walkies. No reply was made.
The show app worked better this year than last, but had many bugs. The online MyShow did not sync with the app. Perhaps users could activate their badges via the app? Also, a shortcut for “My Schedule” would add efficiency and usability.
A crew member asked about the upcoming anime show from another company, and if that would affect NYCC’s programming. Mike noted that ReedPop has a good working relationship with their anime partners, and that another show helps the general community to grow. Another comment about the lack of anime content in Artist Alley was explained that 1,600 applications are made for the approximately 400 tables.
To avoid a repeat of a crowd crush and trampling, most exhibitors used online raffles to better manage crowd excitement. Funko was the most visible example, with timed tickets distributed to attendees for purchasing show exclusives.
Numerous kudos were given to the “blue shirt” staff, as well as convention security, and customer service in general. (Although many suggested that there needs to be better communication regarding updates, such as the line on Friday and Saturday.)
Many appreciated the quiet rooms offered, and hoped they could be enlarged or increased next year.
Got any comments, complaints, critiques, concerns? You’re always welcome to contact ReedPOP, or you can tell us below. What was your experience?
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!