Coming-Con International has announced a fairly major policy change this year, though it’s one that will only affect those who plan to line up for Hall H before the first panel - so basically, a lo…
Hn. Interesting. I suspect this will largely not go over well. Mostly due to actual execution when the wristbands don’t mean you get in for certain, people missing wristbands because bathroom breaks, it only applying to first panel of the day, and if you’re implementing wristbands why people still have to sit in line all night. OH. And announcing this new policy so close to con. Sheesh. Could have been done better.
Stuff like this makes me wonder. When I was younger (like 20 or so years ago…) I went to a game convention in New Jersey. It was only $5 for a full weekend pass, but you signed up for games, and there was a fee for each game. If you wanted in on an AD&D game run by RA Salvatore, that was $15 a seat. If you wanted to play some pre-release Warhammer 40k armies with Games Workshop, that was $25 a seat. So on and so forth. I’m curious if we’re approaching a point where the con tickets themselves drop in price, but they sell tickets to Hall H panels.
(Also, why aren’t they hiring professionals to record the panels, then edit out the sneak peek copyrighted material and make a blu-ray to send out to con attendees and sell on their website. Bought a ticket for SDCC? A month later you get a blu-ray in the mail with all the Hall H panels. Couldn’t make it to SDCC? For $30 you too can have all the Hall H panels in glorious 1080p yadda yadda yadda…)
(If they are doing that dvd/bluray thing, please let me know… I can’t afford the trip out to San Diego, but I would spend a few bucks on a disc to see all the panels…)
There’s some massively nostalgic price tiers, wow. Today you’d probably be looking at $40/$50+ depending on fame levels of the guests involved.
There’s a general dislike at cons for “nickel-and-diming” attendees as it does run counter to the fan convention concept of buying a badge to attend the event. The idea of buying tickets to specific panels becomes increasingly difficult given the schedule does not come out until a couple of weeks prior to the event. It would also encourage increased scalping from what SDCC is already subject to. (Check out San Diego’s Craigslist ads during SDCC, I’ve heard of 4-day badges being sold for a couple of hundred bucks.) While several cons do engage in “ticketing” (usually free) for major events (i.e. AMV Contests, Masquerades, concerts) or have pre-event participation sign ups (i.e. gaming contests) primarily as a way to control seating and the number of tickets match the number of seats available exactly — this is not something that can be applied to “smaller” things like panels that might be moved or might overlap schedules. These events are usually set for a known time well in advance, are timed to minimize potential overlap with regular daytime panels, and are considered special events rather than panels. Panels are intended to be the main content of a convention, the reason you buy your badge. Ticketing for every panel would be quickly become absurd, charging extra for these might cause riots. Trying to pick which are “big enough” to get called an event and be ticketed might result in some nasty posturing and bidding wars from the industry guests. Plus, every panel deemed an “event” would become the fresh hell that is SDCC badge registration repeated multiple times over, that or the Hall H line just moves to point at a ticketing booth inside the con rather than at the Hall H doors. It’s just not terribly feasible.
Plus, SDCC has been very anti-change regarding their panel system. Multiple people have suggested something as simple as clearing rooms between panels and limiting when people can start officially lining up (both fairly standard convention practices). Combining these two practices and adding some sort of marker like wristbands to avoid line jumping would do loads to prevent people spending their entire con in lines and others taking up space in a panel they don’t care about waiting for one several hours later. The biggest disadvantage would be forcing people to choose which panels they really wanted to attend. SDCC Admin think the insane lines are a proper part of the con experience and are more concerned about backlash than making the con more pleasant for the majority of attendees.
There are professionals recording many of those panels, usually they’re part of the company that is running the panel. Uploading or selling even the non-exclusive parts would involve licensing and contract changes I doubt either side is willing to do at this point. Plus, the stuff people are fighting to get in to see is the exclusive content and the time in the same room as a celebrity. Everything else (and the exclusive content too, honestly) ends up on the internet within a week or two of con, so it’s not likely DVD/Blu-Ray sales would be worth the production and contract costs.