Author Topic: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel  (Read 5563 times)

Offline NYRider

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2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« on: October 14, 2013, 04:39:37 AM »
Lance talked about this during the NYCC Team Q&A:

Will the new badge system continue?

Yes.  Lance mentioned that on Saturday, from 9AM until roughly Noon, approximately 55,000 attendees tapped in.  By not needing to check badges once inside Javits, traffic seemed to move much more smoothly.

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« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 05:53:39 AM by alyssa »

Offline alyssa

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Re: NYCC Talk back
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2013, 05:46:36 AM »
Thanks nyRider for posting a summation of what went on at the talkback panel!  I've included an actual text of the link since things change on the web & I want to make sure the information is preserved.

Every year, New York Comic Con changes and grows, and they get most of it right, and some of it wrong.  Every year, during the last hour of the show, Lance Fensterman and his senior team sit down and take questions from the audience regarding how well the show went, what concerns attendees have, and even taking suggestions on how to make the show a better place.

Joining Lance (Global Vice President of ReedPOP) were Brian Stephenson (Brand Marketing Director), Mike Armstrong (Sales Manager), and Kim Muller (Content and Talent Director).

So… here are the various issues raised, in chronological order, paraphrased:
Will the new badge system continue?

Yes.  Lance mentioned that on Saturday, from 9AM until roughly Noon, approximately 55,000 attendees tapped in.  By not needing to check badges once inside Javits, traffic seemed to move much more smoothly.

While waiting for some panels, some people were waiting in line for panels which would not commence for many hours.  (Line camping.)  Could this be fixed?

Like hall camping, it’s not an easy thing to fix.  ReedPOP did make adjustments with the large panel rooms up front in Hall 1A, moving the information booth further back on Friday.

Could ReedPOP add a third stage?  (To complement 1D and 1E.)

Yes.  Lance then asked the crowd, if there was a shuttle bus to, say, the Ziegfeld Theater for an event, would people use it?  YES!

Could ReedPOP run a contest for fan art, possibly for publication on the program cover?

Yes and No.  Yes, a contest sounds like a great idea.  No, the covers are usually claimed by Marvel or DC for promotion.

Could video games be placed in their own area?

Mike Armstrong answered this one.  Video games are placed up front to generate excitement for attendees.  The placement also directs much of the noise out into the concourse, and not into other nearby booths.

Could ReedPOP mark elevators so that users know which floors they go to?

Might ReedPOP get rid of the queue hall and use that space for something else?

The lines would be kept outside, where weather is a concern.  Tent rental would be costly.

During the morning opening of the stage for The Walking Dead, there was a mad dash for seats, causing injury.

Lance apologized to the attendee, and will place better security staff at that hall.

Kim Muller asked if attendees enjoyed the DJ keeping the queue crowd entertained.  Most did.

The queue hall chutes were too wide, and some line jumping was noticed.

Not an easy fix.

There needs to be a better way of working the line.  There were lots of empty seats at some of the main stage events.

A runner is needed to check capacity.

There was some concern over seats reserved for medical badges.  Some seats might have been used by other people.

20 seats are reserved for medical badge holders.  The signage for those seats is not perfect, but they will work to correct it.  (One attendee suggested seating of a different color instead of using signs or slip covers.

The Family Room was a nice idea, but sometimes became crowded as adults visited certain panels.

This was a new experiment, and wildly successful.  Consideration will be given to moving “adult-friendly” kids events outside of the space.

Can something be done about the traffic jams caused by photographers taking cosplay photos in the aisles and elsewhere?

Yes, to a degree.  C2E2 has placed large backdrops at that show to encourage photography away from high traffic areas.  A similar setup was planned for the southern corner, but was scuttled when DC Comics used the space for their Superman exhibit.  There are many blank walls where this could be done.  One attendee suggested that franchises and genre meetups be scheduled for group photos.  Otherwise, there will always be traffic jams in the aisles.

With the new RFID badges, could ReedPOP replicate the Fast Pass system at Disney theme parks?

This is problematic as people would wait in line to make a reservation, instead of waiting in line to get into a panel.  Does ReedPOP turn it into a lottery, creating some resentment?

Could anime panels get more space?  Panels were only held in one small panel room.

Every program track had space issues, and ReedPOP works hard trying to figure out the best configuration for rooms in 1A.

Lance mentioned that there was some thought to spreading events out into the city.

Does ReedPOP keep track of which panels are popular?

Yes.  They count how many people are in line.  How many people attended each panel.  How many were turned away.

Last year, elevators were turned off to deal with congestion.  That didn’t happen much this year.  Why?

Unlike other venues, the elevators in Javits cannot be reversed.  Sometimes the elevator will be turned off so that it syncs with the other escalator.  Attendees were universal in the idea of a “No Stop Zone” at the escalator landings.  (Really, this should be common sense.  Me, I just keep moving, and if I have to shove my way through, I just tell the offended parties that there are more people coming up right behind me, and I’m trying to avoid a major accident.)

The Press Area seemed to have too much empty space, and was difficult to reach.

There were elevators (although I was hesitant to use them, afraid I’d be delivered somewhere I should not be).

Please publicize the opening of the 7 train as a convenient way to get to Javits.

ReedPOP will, when the MTA finishes and opens the station.   (2015 is the expected date.)

The food trucks were great!  Could there be more?

The Javits has an exclusive food vendor.  ReedPOP was able to convince the convention center that, due to many eateries inside being closed (such as those near 3E), that two trucks were required to feed ReedPOP employees.  They will try to keep that two truck exemption in place for next year!

Could the “End of Line” place holders also be given a sign which would state “Line Capped”?  And could the lines be signed so attendees know which panel the line is for?  {alyssa comment= to my mind this was the number one issue i had in 2012}

Yes.  Yes.

At the main stage panels, there was a rush to the microphone.  Could that be bettered managed?

Yes.  Perhaps attendees submit questions in advance, and the moderator selects the question.  (This would eliminate the “can I get a hug?” comments.  Or perhaps they are submitted via Twitter.

Could the autographing listings include a photo, as was seen in the Artist Alley listings?


While the NYCC app updated events, notifications were not sent.  Could this be done.


There were gaps in the main stage waiting lines, allowing for people to sneak in.

Better security will be in place.

Could the VIP/Ultimate Access passes be segregated by fan interests?  Anime, comics, TV/movies…


Were the balconies in 1-D used?

Yes.  Sometimes it is hard to see people seated in that section.

Could ReedPOP send out a confirmation email when the RFID badge is activated online?

Yes.  Next year!

Could ReedPOP give a better clarification about the professional panels scheduled for Thursday before the sales floor opens?

Yes.  Since non-professional attendees are not permitted inside Javits until the opening, they would be unable to attend the panels anyway.  Lance did agree that there should be better notification and advisories when listing the events online.

Brian then asked, did anyone notice the new signage?  Some did.  (I did not.)

Wrapping up the panel, Lance Fensterman reiterated that the motto of ReedPOP is “fans first”, and they try their best to make each show better.

He then stated,
“This is the best effing [sic] comic con ever!”

…and I would agree.  Each has something new and improved, and no matter what goes wrong, the ReedPOP crew works hard to correct mistakes, and improve on what went right.

Random surveys will be sent out to attendees.  You can also contact Team NYCC via the ReedPOP website.  The Con is scheduled next year for October 9-12, 2014.
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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #2 on: Today at 12:32:34 PM »

Offline mllNY

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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2013, 01:05:42 PM »
that report missed my question at the very very end. Better communication with crew at the beginning of the Con
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Offline NYRider

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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2013, 05:04:02 AM »
An idea for a third stage. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login at West 55th Street can used for a theater and can hold up to You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. Lines can be either outside or in Pier 92 next to it. Special tickets can be sold too. Of course, such things like costs, travel time, enough staff, should be considered :

« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 05:31:08 AM by NYRider »

Offline SamTurtledove

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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 11:10:55 PM »
Bleeding Cool's funner version (IMO) of the same 2013 NYCC Talkback Q & A.  I think mllNY's question, which comicsbeat didn't list in their previous report...

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that report missed my question at the very very end. Better communication with crew at the beginning of the Con covered in the BC article!  I listed that question and another in green which was not mentioned earlier.

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"NYCC Organizers Face The Fans With A Post-Con Q&A

Paul Gullas wrote for Bleeding Cool from New York Comic Con

At 4pm on Sunday afternoon, as the 2013 New York Comic Con was winding down and that familiar mixture of sadness, relief and exhaustion was setting in for the masses at the Javits Convention Center, the braintrust of NYCC gathered in room 1A15 to hear feedback and answer questions from attendees and staff alike.

Introducing themselves along with their zodiac signs were ReedPOP’s Lance Fensterman, Group Vice President (Aries), Brian Stephenson, Brand Marketing Director (Gemini—which got the most cheers), Mike Armstrong, Sales Manager, (Pisces), and Kim Mueller, Director of Content & Talent (Libra), who announced that her birthday was this week.

Most of the fans attending the panel seemed generally happy with this year’s con experience and the improvements made from previous years, but there were some complaints regarding about how queuing outside panels was organized, crowding, and fan behavior. Several suggestions were also offered, which the organizers seemed open to taking. Fensterman was taking notes on his phone throughout, joking that he wasn’t actually texting his girlfriend (Armstrong: “I believe I’m actually sending texts to your girlfriend”)

Highlights from (meaning, practically all of) the Q&A:

Really liked the new badge system [here fans tapped their badges against portable RFID readers carried by convention staff]. Did you think it worked, will you do it again?

“Yes”. Fensterman then dropped some stats on us: between 9am and 11:30/12, about 55,000 tapped in. There was some badge sharing, where one person passes their badge back to a friend through a fence. The North Entrance was about 40% less congested each day than it was last year.

They’re looking into implementing cashless paying at some vendors, where you’ll be able to pay by tapping your badge. Someone in the crowd commented that this will be harder on her wallet, and Fensterman admitted that cashless pay does result in people spending about 15% more.

Lines were bleeding into each other, people were waiting in line three panels before their panel actually started, and wouldn’t get out of the way for people who wanted to attend the earlier panels.

 Mueller explained that they always struggle with the best way to lay out the rooms for easy queuing. Unfortunately, the Javits Center is very difficult and there are only so many configurations. There are so many large rooms in the front part (1A section), which hosted the most popular events. They realized on Thursday & Friday that there was a bottleneck at the front, so they moved back the info booth to create more space.

When they go back to work next week, they’ll look into how they can improve layout.

About clearing rooms: it’s really up to the fans. They’d need to have a line for every single panel at every location. They don’t have the space for that. They’re looking into different solutions, including possibly a ticketing process for really big events. This is at the top of their priority list, and it’s important to them.

NYCC tries to get the coolest stuff, which means that there will be more fans than they have space for in the rooms.

Fensterman asked for a show of hands: “who wants us to clear panel rooms, if it means having half as many panels, meaning ones that you like wouldn’t be able to happen?” Nobody raised their hands. “That’s why we don’t clear panel rooms.”

The second main stage was a really good idea. Will a third main stage be a possibility?

 Mueller replied that some events in these 3 biggest rooms weren’t big enough (I think she was referring to the rooms in the 1A hall, though the question was about the large theaters). They may try to get another big room, but this means that 3 little rooms that disappear. Smaller panels wouldn’t necessarily have space. They’re looking into other ways

Fensterman addressed the question by asking the audience, “if we had a shuttle running to the Ziegfeld Theater for screenings, would you be open to that?” The fans were loudly positive about this idea.

The app was great,and much better than last year. However, there were times when some crew didn’t have the best communication.

 Fensterman replied by saying that they have a great team, but they’re always struggling with communication, not so much with big things, but granular things. “We can do better”, which was a recurring response throughout the panel.

One of the orange-shirted crew raised his hand and suggested having a daily bulletin distributed to crew (perhaps through the app) containing any late-breaking updates.
 Fensterman: “Good idea.”

Have an art contest for the show program cover, badges, etc., where winners might get free passes.

 Fensterman & Stephenson said it was a great idea, and that it was really cool & interactive for fans. They may not do these for the program cover or badges (since they have partnerships with DC/Marvel and Walking Dead), but there’s no shortage of opportunities for art on other con materials.

Can they move the video game content (on the show floor) into its own area, due to the crowds?

 They put the gaming content where it is, to provide visual appeal, and to create a certain energy & excitement right where people walk in. Also, it gets the noise pointing out the doors, rather than at other booths. They don’t want the noise blaring into a publisher booth, they don’t want that. Exhibitors have gotten mad at each other in previous years over these issues.

Could you mark where elevators are on the map, and where they lead?


Ever considering abandoning the queue hall and putting more panel rooms there?

 Fensterman: “We have, and if the weather forecast was right on Saturday [massive rain had been predicted on Saturday morning], it would’ve really sucked”. They’ve considered tenting the whole roadway outside, and “you don’t want to know how much that would cost”.

They’ll debate queuing internally for the next few months .

Attendee (an older lady) got knocked down and hurt her ankle in the rush during the opening of the Walking Dead panel.

 Lance apologized, and said that they need more security.

Could you have volleyball or something for the people waiting for the theater?

 They hired a DJ and hype man for the 1D theater. They think it was really successful and would like to incorporate it into other parts of the show. They asked if anyone have feedback about the DJ? Fans enjoyed both the DJ and the emcee.

The chutes are too wide, which makes it too easy to jump ahead in line, and leads to bitterness and arguments.

 Fensterman: If you do single file, it’ll be 10 blocks long, but they’ll try and do better.

Lots of seats in the theater were left unfilled during an event, even though lots of people were stuck outside.

 A lot of these people may have been in the bathroom or getting food. But they’ll do a better job getting runners to fill those seats.

People at the front of the line of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel who not only could not get in, couldn’t even see the footage because they shut the doors.

 It was a Marvel decision. Because it was a sneak peek of the next episode, they hired security with night vision in the theater, and they didn’t have a way to manage that many people out in the queue hall, so they shut the door. They’ll continue speaking to their partners so that people outside won’t feel so left out.

Regarding reserved seats for people with medical badges. Staff should check if people sitting in special medical badge seats actually have medical badges.

 Yes, they should check. Looking into a better way for keeping the Reserved seat covers on. Fan suggested having differently-colored seats, which the panelists thought was a good idea (though I think this may depend on the Javits’ resources, as all of the seats belonged to the Convention Center). Mueller said that ReedPOP very much cares that people with medical badges get those seats.

Love the concept of the family room, but it was overwhelming when there were some events going on there.

 Family room was an experiment this year. Worked really well, but there were some challenges, mainly that it wasn’t big enough. Didn’t know how busy it would be on Friday & Saturday.

There’s a huge problem with people stopping to take photos in the hallways, on the stairs. Maybe have a special area for people to pose.

 They’ve talked about this a bunch. At C2E2 (which ReedPOP also runs), they have “immersive” areas, with backdrops. They’ll do it next year, and they have many ideas, such as a backdrop that looks like the NYC skyline. They wanted to do it on the South Concourse, but DC took over the space with their Superman costume display. It won’t completely stop the people stopping in the halls, but it will pull people over to a separate area for photo ops.

When you implement that, could you do an official signup thing where larger cosplay & photo groups can schedule space & events, so that they don’t have to rely on Facebook events that not everyone hears about or has access to?


Have you considered implement something similar to the Disney theme park FASTPASS service, perhaps with the new badge system?

 Yes. And they’d love an all-expenses paid trip to Disney for “research”. The problem is, a ticketing system will cause 20,000 people to line up early. They could do an online lottery, where it gives everyone a chance, but no guarantee. However, this won’t be popular with people who don’t mind getting there early if they’re guaranteed to get into the room. They’ll consider looking at it, but it’s hard to compare NYCC to Disney, because NYCC deals with one-time panels as opposed to ongoing rides.

The vast majority of Anime content happened in this room (where the Q&A was being held), and it wasn’t big enough. Maybe it should be spun out into its own convention.

 They’ve be looking at other venues throughout the city. It was a problem for all types of content this year, not just anime. The rooms were just too small.

How are you keeping track of attendance in certain panels?

 They count every single person. They count how many people are in line and how many they turn away. This influences how they program those rooms the next year.

Why were some of the escalators turned on this year as opposed to last year, when they were turned off to prevent trampling)?

 Javits escalators are old and don’t reverse direction. Some times, they turn the down escalator off, so it essentially acs as another “up” escalator, to get people in faster.

Maybe implement a No-Stop Zone at the bottom and top of the escalators.

 This got a huge response, and it seemed like an obvious solution to the problem. Someone also suggested having directionals at every escalator landing.

Javits took down the big signs that pointed which way was A & E.

There was lots of wasted space up in the press area, and it was too far and inconvenient to get there from the panels.

 Maybe when escalators are working. I wonder if they can use those offices/rooms on the mezzanine level next to the 1-D Main Stage as an expanded press area?

When the 7 subway station opens [currently scheduled for mid-2014, between 34th & 35th Streets, across from the Javits Center], could you publicize it in next year’s promotional materials?

 OK, good idea

Loved the food trucks. Could we get more?

 Fensterman explained that Javits doesn’t allow food trucks, as the Javits food vendor has exclusive rights. They were able to barter the two food trucks this year because they lost some concession stands due to construction, and they wanted to feed attendees. Next year, they’ll fight to keep two, and fight to add more. They loved the outdoor area.

He added that since the badge system worked and Javits construction is mostly done, they won’t have to change the layout again.

Ultimate Badges: what dictates what perks they get?

 VIP passes have evolved dramatically. They send out surveys, and collect feedback. They were able to get wi-fi in VIP lounge. We want to hear ideas. Regarding reserved seating in the theaters, it’s a balancing act where they don’t want to have a lot of rooms with empty space in front, versus reserving seats for people who paid for that privilege.

Could the “End of Line” signs have a “Line Capped” sign on the other end so they can be flipped?

 They liked this idea.

People charge up right away to the mics when they start to take Q&As

 Fensterman joked that if they locked the doors to this room and crowdsourced the issues here for 2 hours, we’d have everything solved. Several suggestions were given, such as writing down questions, then submitting them. Everyone hates people asking for hugs or telling personal anecdotes. Perhaps tweet your questions, though this would be next to impossible with the notoriously bad wifi/data signals.

A fan had some app issues, such as: app should have photos of people who autographing, like in some other sections of the app. Also, when a panel changes, there’s no alert (notification).

 They’ll work on these.

There would be gaps in waiting line barriers, letting people cut.

 They’ll work on improving security

Maybe have different VIP/Ultimate packages: One for anime, one for entertainments, one for comics, autographs, etc.

 The panelists thought it was a pretty cool idea. The audience liked it. You’re giving each person exactly what they want, as opposed to what they want, plus six things they may not really want.

Some fans asked for more big screens in various rooms.

Were there people in the balconies?

 Yeah, the seats are low velvet chairs so it’s hard to see

Can we get a confirmation e-mail when the Badge is activated online.

 Yeah, they didn’t get the back end in time this year, but they’ll do it next year.

A lot of people thought that b/c there were Thursday panels at noon, that the whole show was open at noon. Could you announce it more prominently that the Thursday pro panels are not for the public?

 It was on the Hours pages, but in the schedule, it didn’t say that it was for pros only. In the booklet it said it, but not online. They’ll work on it.

Stephenson asked if we noticed that the NYCC signage looked a bit different this year? Did you like the look & feel?
 Some fans were positive, and a few mentioned that they liked the funny signage on the walkway to Artists Alley.

Fensterman ended the session by telling us that their internal motto is “fans first”. “We want to know how you guys feel, and we go home and work on it.” They send out random surveys, and they plan their strategy around it. They take our opinions seriously, to the point that they’re paid based on how happy attendees are. “We put OUR money where your mouth is.”

Offline NYRider

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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 04:20:42 AM »
The Bleeding Cool report is actually much more detailed. Thanks!

Offline mllNY

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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2013, 06:47:45 AM »
nope my question still not there
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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2013, 06:59:51 AM »
I wish I could have made this but completely forgot.

I know it's been brought up in other places and maybe I missed it in the Q&A recap, but did anyone bring up the "Big Cans" promo? I was just wondering if ReedPop knew about their plans before hand or not. I know the video that ran before panels was pulled Friday.

Offline JerseyGirl317

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Re: 2013 NYCC Talk back panel
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 04:49:46 PM »
I didn't attend on Sunday but I actually wrote to Lance about the professial panels on Thursday. The teacher panels started at noon but they didn't start letting people in until 12:05. Pretty muck everyone missed half of the first panel.  He said next year that would either push the first panels back or open doors earlier.
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