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Fan 
Conventions: 
Behind the 
Mask 
Data and trends driving 
the billion-dollar event 
boom
Presenters 
Rob Salkowitz 
Author, Comic-Con and the 
Business of Pop Culture 
Rob@robsalkowitz.com 
@robsalk 
Jennifer K....
Today’s Agenda 
The evolution of Fandom 
New, revealing data about fans today 
Case study: GeekGirlCon 
Best practices and...
A little history 
4
Over 130,000 attendees 
Over 500,000 sq.ft exhibit hall 
Sold out in < 15 mins 
$163 million to San Diego 
1.2 billion med...
What is fandom really about?
$600M+ business in US annually alone 
Source: Eventbrite Market Report 2013, based on publicly available data.
Fans today and the 
implications 
12
Fans love live events! 
How many total fan-related events 
do you attend in a year? 
40% 
30% 
20% 
10% 
0% 
None 1 2 3 4 ...
They’re fans of everything 
Describe your level of interest across the 
following genres: 
100% 
75% 
50% 
25% 
0% 
Anime/...
Gender and fandom 
Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014. 
45% 
55% 
Women Men
Gender under age 30 
50% 50% 
Women Men 
Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014.
Cons are for commerce 
Please tell us how much you spend on your 
fan interests in a year: 
80% 
60% 
40% 
20% 
0% 
Local ...
Fans consume media 
When a new movie, game or show comes out 
that captures your interests as a fan, you… 
100% 
75% 
50% ...
Con directors: take note! 
Overall, which of the following statements best sums up 
your current attitude toward major fan...
Understanding fan culture 
21
Source: The Simpsons
Source: Saturday Night 
Live
Source: Parks and 
Recreation
Fans are defined by their interests: Gamer, 
Trekkie 
Interests + Identity: Geek Girl, Blerd, 
Gaymer 
Acknowledges and em...
Source: The 
Simpsons
Understanding why people come 
together 
Connection or identification with popular 
culture stories and creators 
Safe spa...
“Some of us love completely different things, but we all love them 
so much, that we travel thousands of miles . . . in so...
literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky
GeekGirlCon embraces all types of people. PERIOD. There 
is no way to list all the subsets of folks that now or in the 
fu...
Programming & Events ’11 - ‘13 
Science, Engineering, and Robotics (NASA, JPL) + a DIY 
Science Zone 
Killing Cattiness, C...
energized 
passio 
n dare to dream revolution 
note to teen me: it gets better! 
our daughters 
community 
I found family ...
It’s about the mission 
33
What: is the purpose of your event or 
publication
What: is the purpose of your event or 
publication 
Who: is your intended audience
“A NIGHT AT THE BRONZE - an event 
about Buffy fans, for Buffy fans, by 
Buffy fans at LUCID, and coordinated by 
Jo Jo St...
What: is the purpose of your event or 
publication 
Who: is your intended audience 
How: do you intend to reach them and 
...
What: is the purpose of your event or 
publication 
Who: is your intended audience 
How: do you intend to reach them and 
...
What: is the purpose of your event or 
publication 
Who: is your intended audience 
How: do you intend to reach them and 
...
Final Takeaways 
40
Have a clear, well-defined, and public mission 
Embrace fan diversity 
Consistency, transparency, and a commitment 
to lis...
More resources 
eventbrite.com/cons 
eventbrite.com/academy 
ink-stainedamazon.com 
robsalkowitz.com
THANK 
YOU!
Jennifer K. Stuller
Rob Salkowitz
Fans Behind the Mask- New Data for Cons from Eventbrite
Fans Behind the Mask- New Data for Cons from Eventbrite
Fans Behind the Mask- New Data for Cons from Eventbrite
Fans Behind the Mask- New Data for Cons from Eventbrite
Fans Behind the Mask- New Data for Cons from Eventbrite
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Fans Behind the Mask- New Data for Cons from Eventbrite

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With fandom conventions setting attendance records all over the country, it’s no secret that comic, gaming, anime and pop culture cons and other related events are big business. But who are the fans, and how have their interests and buying habits evolved? The answers to these questions could have a big impact on your business!

Eventbrite teams up with industry experts, Rob Salkowitz, and Jennifer K. Stuller, to give insights on how event organizers, publishers, retailers and the media industry alike can capitalize on the changing face of fandoms to drive further growth. In this presentation is data from an online survey conducted by Eventbrite to more than 2600 customers who purchased tickets to fandom events on their platform.

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Fans Behind the Mask- New Data for Cons from Eventbrite

  1. 1. Fan Conventions: Behind the Mask Data and trends driving the billion-dollar event boom
  2. 2. Presenters Rob Salkowitz Author, Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture Rob@robsalkowitz.com @robsalk Jennifer K. Stuller Fandom scholar and co-founder, GeekGirl Con jkstuller@ink-stainedamazon. com @InkAmazon
  3. 3. Today’s Agenda The evolution of Fandom New, revealing data about fans today Case study: GeekGirlCon Best practices and takeaways for the industry
  4. 4. A little history 4
  5. 5. Over 130,000 attendees Over 500,000 sq.ft exhibit hall Sold out in < 15 mins $163 million to San Diego 1.2 billion media impressions
  6. 6. What is fandom really about?
  7. 7. $600M+ business in US annually alone Source: Eventbrite Market Report 2013, based on publicly available data.
  8. 8. Fans today and the implications 12
  9. 9. Fans love live events! How many total fan-related events do you attend in a year? 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% None 1 2 3 4 5 or more Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014.
  10. 10. They’re fans of everything Describe your level of interest across the following genres: 100% 75% 50% 25% 0% Anime/ Manga Comics and graphic novels Science Fiction/F antasy Specialty fandoms (furry, brony, steampunk , etc) Tabletop gaming Horror (includes vampires, zombies, etc) Genre-based movies and TV Video games I'm a super fan I'm a casual fan I'm not a fan Webcomic s and online communitie s
  11. 11. Gender and fandom Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014. 45% 55% Women Men
  12. 12. Gender under age 30 50% 50% Women Men Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014.
  13. 13. Cons are for commerce Please tell us how much you spend on your fan interests in a year: 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Local Retailers or store Online Conventions (not including travel, lodging or food) Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014.
  14. 14. Fans consume media When a new movie, game or show comes out that captures your interests as a fan, you… 100% 75% 50% 25% 0% Line up on launch day/openi ng weekend Pay for premium features (IMAX, 3D, etc) Always Sometimes Never Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014. Participate in promo-tions Buy a special edition, box-set or Blu-Rays Buy extra copies for keepsake Subscribe to premium services just for access Pre-order online or at a store
  15. 15. Con directors: take note! Overall, which of the following statements best sums up your current attitude toward major fan conventions? 35% 49% Source: Eventbrite “Cons: Behind the Mask” Survey, July 2014. 11% 1% 4% None of the above. They’re great! The bigger the better. The big cons are a lot of fun but can also be stressful. I wish they were better organized. The big fan cons are way too crowded and busy — I’m sticking to smaller events. The thrill is gone. I’m done with cons.
  16. 16. Understanding fan culture 21
  17. 17. Source: The Simpsons
  18. 18. Source: Saturday Night Live
  19. 19. Source: Parks and Recreation
  20. 20. Fans are defined by their interests: Gamer, Trekkie Interests + Identity: Geek Girl, Blerd, Gaymer Acknowledges and embraces diversity within the culture
  21. 21. Source: The Simpsons
  22. 22. Understanding why people come together Connection or identification with popular culture stories and creators Safe spaces for allies to connect, celebrate, and critique Opportunities to purchase, collect, or otherwise procure totems reflective of their fandoms
  23. 23. “Some of us love completely different things, but we all love them so much, that we travel thousands of miles . . . in some cases from all over the world, so we can be around people who love the things we love, the way that we love them . . . – and that’s why being a nerd is awesome.”
  24. 24. literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky
  25. 25. GeekGirlCon embraces all types of people. PERIOD. There is no way to list all the subsets of folks that now or in the future will make up the body of GeekGirlCon. ALL: ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, sexual preferences, sizes, abilities, ethnicities, nationalities, races, creeds, religions, familial statuses, alien species, earth species, education levels, science specializations, operating system preferences, fandoms, etc., are welcome. Anyone supporting women in geeky pursuits is welcome.
  26. 26. Programming & Events ’11 - ‘13 Science, Engineering, and Robotics (NASA, JPL) + a DIY Science Zone Killing Cattiness, Creating Community, Combating Bullying Business and Career Advice (Furthered by our new Connections initiative) Vlogging, Storytelling and Media-Making with Feminist Frequency and Reel Grrls Sexism in Geek Cultures including the Video Game Industry, and Online Spaces Mini-film festivals, sing-alongs, concerts, improv, puppet shows Costuming, Sewing LEDs in Fabric, Customizing My Little Ponies
  27. 27. energized passio n dare to dream revolution note to teen me: it gets better! our daughters community I found family Unelievablyamazingwow moved to tears creativity fun support safe men who are feminists I felt like the things I did mattered smart accepting vibrant joyous liberating renewed desire to create
  28. 28. It’s about the mission 33
  29. 29. What: is the purpose of your event or publication
  30. 30. What: is the purpose of your event or publication Who: is your intended audience
  31. 31. “A NIGHT AT THE BRONZE - an event about Buffy fans, for Buffy fans, by Buffy fans at LUCID, and coordinated by Jo Jo Stiletto Events and Ink-Stained Amazon, to celebrate the publication of "Fan Phenomena: Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with prizes, themed drink specials, entertainment and more!”
  32. 32. What: is the purpose of your event or publication Who: is your intended audience How: do you intend to reach them and foster community and brand loyalty
  33. 33. What: is the purpose of your event or publication Who: is your intended audience How: do you intend to reach them and foster community and brand loyalty When/Where: negotiating facilities & rental, finances, location, accessibility, time of year
  34. 34. What: is the purpose of your event or publication Who: is your intended audience How: do you intend to reach them and foster community and brand loyalty When/Where: negotiating facilities & rental, finances, location, accessibility, time of year Why: are you creating this
  35. 35. Final Takeaways 40
  36. 36. Have a clear, well-defined, and public mission Embrace fan diversity Consistency, transparency, and a commitment to listening to feedback is key Help your exhibitors understand the opportunities Delight fans with great events and they will keep coming back, again and again and again
  37. 37. More resources eventbrite.com/cons eventbrite.com/academy ink-stainedamazon.com robsalkowitz.com
  38. 38. THANK YOU!
  39. 39. Jennifer K. Stuller
  40. 40. Rob Salkowitz

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