Comic-Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two

twitter Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two0facebook Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two0google Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two0pinterest Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two0tumblr Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Tworeddit Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two0stumbleupon Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two0email Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two

.

circus Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part Two

By TORSTEN ADAIR — special to The Beat

Well, after posting my initial analysis of Comic-Con programming, astute Beat readers suggested I consider the square footage and attendance of each panel.

Using the color-coded programming grids found on the CCI website, and then using the occupancy data for the convention center and nearby hotels, I created a nice spreadsheet for each room or hall.

Here are the totals (apologies for the spacing):

(Media includes Film, Television, and Animation from the grid)

Total Square Feet*Hours of Programming
  • Comics     1,380,275.50
  • Media       4,100,324.25
  • Games          256,110.50
  • Books            172,715.00
  • Other            278,386.00

Why does Media have three times the space of comics?  That’s a result of Room 20, Hall H, and the Indigo Ballroom, which were almost exclusively reserved for Media events.  (The Indigo hosted 16 media, 3 comics,  3 other, and 1 game panels.  Room 20 and Hall H were exclusively media panels, with Room 20 holding the less popular movies and shows.)

If we ignore those big rooms, the numbers are better:

  • Comics    1,306,658.50
  • Media      1,162,928.25
  • Games         232,110.50
  • Books           171,098.00
  • Other          204,769.00

cicrus comics Comic Con 2011: Perception vs. Reality, Part TwoOf course, remove the three-room Media circus, and most of the fanboy furor over Comic-Con vanishes.  As do most of the crowds and journalists.

If we consider seating, it looks a bit better, with media at twice the attendance of comics.  Attendance is hard to gauge, so I used the capacity seating listed for each room layout.  These are liberal numbers… I suspect that the big rooms were packed, while the smaller rooms probably had some empty seats.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the official numbers tabulated from CCI are proportional to the square footage number above.

Maximum Seating *Hours of Programming

  • Comics     226,868.50
  • Media       440,108.75
  • Games        34,377.00
  • Books           25,736.00
  • Other           56,795.00

Without the big rooms:

  • Comics    218,729.50
  • Media      133,787.00
  • Games        31,714.00
  • Books          25,586.00
  • Other         48,656.00

A rather spectacular difference in possible attendance!  Fanboys would outnumber mediots 8:5 (although there would be some dissension, as the superhero comics fans would have to tolerate the cheerful effervescence of the manga/anime cosplayers).  Of course, there is always overlap, and even without the big rooms, I would estimate that attendance of comics and media panels would be equal (with media probably attracting more).

Comments

  1. Amazing work, Torsten. This has got to be the first breakdown of its kind on SDCC’s media vs. comics situation ( or infinite crisis).

    Is it possible to do the same thing for convention floor space? That seems to be where comics folk really get the feeling that they’re losing the battle.

  2. Jake Orion says:

    Very good stuff Torsten, great article. It is nice to know that the Comic-Con committee is still devoted to comics (for now.)

    However, one trend that has begun to worry me: I had the pleasure to speak with Joe Corroney this year in Artist Alley. We blabbed about various odds and ends of the Comic-Con when he said something puzzling; how small Artist Alley has been becoming. Every year, it seems to be becoming more condensed or is being intruded due to the major gaming booths, which, in my opinion, has no business being at the con.

    Unfortunately I do not have my past events guides with me as I’m out of town, but does anyone have any information on what floorspace Artist Alley used to encompass compared to what it was this year?

  3. It’s clear, based on the #’s you’re presenting, that the perception is in fact, the truth (or as close as we are going to get here). The “three-room Media circus” events dominate Comic Con.

    I have to also agree with Cliff and Jake above that another point to gauge the media v. comics controversy (?) is on the dealer’s room floor. Though that might be much harder to accurately measure.

    So what does this all mean for SDCC?

  4. Thanks, again, Torsten.
    Your work is very much appreciated and I hope it spurs future comic creators to continue to fight the good fight with the full understanding that they ARE supported at San Diego and elsewhere.

  5. Al™ says:

    Very interesting analysis!

    But I wonder if comics and media are now in symbiosis forever. Comic companies are owned by media conglomerates.

    Comics, with their limited mass appeal (this year’s hot story involves one comic company reorganizing its comic line)TEAMS UP with ‘beautiful yet shallow’ media. (Starlets and stars appear and wear comic Tshirts)

    It might be the match made in heaven. Comics giving some sort of fan street cred to movies, and movies being made from comics by the very owners of the comic companies.

  6. Torsten Adair says:

    The exhibitor map can be found here:

    I cannot calculate how much area each booth occupies, nor how to “split the baby” in deciding how much of each booth is allotted to each category. (Marvel had a media display and signing area in their booth.)

    On that exhibitor map, you will note that the fan club tables were moved up to the “attic” of the convention center, up on the Mezzanine Terrace/Amphitheatre level near Room 16. How many CCI attendees actually ventured up there?

    What if CCI offered bargain-priced Artist Alley tables in a nearby hotel (no badge required to enter so to maximize traffic), and used that space on the convention floor for expanding the small press area by averaging the rent to make it cheaper? The Hilton had a larger ballroom which wasn’t used. The Hyatt was empty, except for the 2012 pre-registration, and it could host it’s own comic con with the amount of space it has! The Hard Rock and Omni also have ballrooms.

    As we saw with TR!CKSTER, there is opportunity to expand, “Angoulême”, or “Mardi Gras” Comic-Con. That involves the involvement of the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the San Diego Public Library, and various fan groups. A “cosplay 10K” where everyone is costumed. (No costume? Can’t run? Get made up as a zombie.) Art workshops for kids and teens. Free movie screenings in Embarcadero Marina Park South or Balboa.

  7. Steve G says:

    What happens to the numbers if you break out the media events for shows and movies based on comic properties and animated series like ThunderCats that skew decidedly to the comics side of the whole equation?

  8. Rupert Giles says:

    A couple years ago, this Chuck Rozanski blog , painted a picture of doom & gloom for comics retailers at the show in 2008.

    However, your numbers would indicate that its not as bad as it seems. Thanks for putting the numbers together Torsten.

  9. The fan tables used to be in the exhibitor hall, but about five years ago they started putting them up in the mezzanine area. There is a fair amount of traffic up there, especially when the food outlets are open. When the fan table I run (AZ SF Cons) was in the exhibit hall, we got complaints from dealers that couldn’t buy additional tables that the fan tables were taking up space that they could buy (and occasionally when the fan table was adjacent to a regular exhibitor, there inventory would sometimes creep over to the fan table). Pretty much any fan groups that have tables in the exhibit hall now are paying for the space.

    One area that has been completely eliminated is the art auction space, which used to be an area with a stage and about 100 seats where artists would work on pieces for the art auction. They tried moving to a function room at the far end of the newer part of the convention center upstairs, but no one ventured down there, so it was dropped completely.

  10. Todd A says:

    I think breaking it down by square footage and seats is a bit tricky, especially by seats. Sure Media dominates because they have the big rooms, but there are a lot of people that attend Comic Con for the comics that go to these panels as well. It’s not black and white, if you attend media panels that doesn’t mean you only attend the convention because of this. The same goes for comics, gaming, and anything else the convention offers.

    Torsten: Your right, I think spreading out the convention is the way to go. Also, I believe that artist alley tables are free already. So it’s a matter of getting artists to want to setup away from the main exhibit hall. With the success of TR!CKSTER this year, that might make it easier.

  11. Torsten Adair says:

    Artists’ Alley tables for 2012 will cost $350 for half of an eight-foot table. Register before September 23, and it’s free.

    (A full table at APE costs $300.)

    10×10 booth $2500 (minus discounts for early registration and payment)
    Corner booths and islands have additional costs.

    Small press table (6 feet) $400
    Comic-con table (8 feet) $850

    Hmmm… what if Disney/Marvel set up a D23-style show at the Hilton during CCI? No admission charged, just take the money spent towards a CCI booth and spend it at the Hilton. Control all aspects of programming, including hours (and sales!). Import a few walk-around characters from Disneyland, including the gift shop (with exclusives!) Plaster the hotel with marketing, including swag bags in each hotel room, a dedicated “D23″ channel on the hotel TV system, CCTV broadcasts of the panels, including repeats…

    Then the year after, Warners does the same, perhaps at the Hard Rock Hotel. Then Lego sets up a mini-Legoland in the Omni, and runs a show for AFOLs. And then…

  12. This is great work Torsten!

    If you take into account occupancy percentage, I think it skews significantly more towards media. The ‘3-room circus’ (I love that term) is almost consistently at 90% or better capacity — though there are a number of campers who sit in those rooms all day regardless of interest in any particular panel.

    Anecdotally, most non-major publisher/event comics panels are 25-60% full at most. At least most of those I attended.

    You can’t put a number on every room wrt occupancy, but just knowing that there may be a 25-30% or better discrepancy in true occupancy skews things even more.

    And the bright side for us comics folks is what a lot of people have known for years — avoid Hall H, Ballroom 20, and Indigo and you get a really great comics event.

    Would be awesome to know how the comics portions stacks against the next largest non-cci con (NYCC??).

  13. Torsten wrote:

    “Hmmm… what if Disney/Marvel set up a D23-style show at the Hilton during CCI? No admission charged, just take the money spent towards a CCI booth and spend it at the Hilton. Control all aspects of programming, including hours (and sales!). Import a few walk-around characters from Disneyland, including the gift shop (with exclusives!) Plaster the hotel with marketing, including swag bags in each hotel room, a dedicated “D23″ channel on the hotel TV system, CCTV broadcasts of the panels, including repeats…

    Then the year after, Warners does the same, perhaps at the Hard Rock Hotel. Then Lego sets up a mini-Legoland in the Omni, and runs a show for AFOLs. And then…”

    I think we saw the beginning of this trend for the con this year. The bulk of the gaslamp area and surrounding hotels is being consumed by just this kind of stuff.

Speak Your Mind

*