By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief
BERLIN: Speaking at Klopotek’s Publishers Forum today, Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPop — the organization that produces BookCon, New York ComicCon, and many events around the world, says the publishing world needs to not think B2B or B2C, but E2E (end-to-end).
He notes that little more than five years after launch, ReedPop now runs 25 global events — making it largest producer of pop culture events around the world — and this year some one million fans will attend the events, 70% of whom are 18–35 years old. Some 5,000 brands will exhibit and the events will produce 10 billion media impressions. He noted that the company’s video game show in Seattle sold 90, 000 tickets, prices at $40 in 20 minutes with zero marketing budget. Talk about popular. What’s more, after LucasFilm showed a trailer for Star Wars: Episode 7 at this past weekend’s Star Wars Celebration, Disney’s stock valuation, errr, popped up by $2 billion.
Why are the events so successful? “Because,” says Fensterman, “we are catering to fans, not consumers.”
He noted that for years he’d been trying to introduce readers to BookExpo America, but there was “there was no interest from our customers at BEA in having anything to do with readers and consumers. None. To the point, one of the heads of the major houses said, ‘over my dead body’ will consumers ever attend BEA.”
Last year’s BookCon, which was held in conjunction with BookExpo America “took 45 days to plan and we sold out at 10,000 people, This year we are capping it at 20,000 people.”
“We are trying to introduce a model of end-to-end where authors are introduced to their fan base,” said Fensterman. “We had to guide publishers in content. We declined a number of marquee authors they wanted to bring because they didn’t build this niche, passionate fan base we wanted to build. Don’t undervalue this niche by dismissing it at genre. These are passionate consumers of content. We are not looking to engage the 45-55 year-old reader. How do you engage the YouTube generation? That’s what we want to answer.”
He added, “We are creating a porous connection between a passionate fan base facilitated by industry connection. I don’t really care if the brands are there — I want the fans to be there. Because if the fans are there the brands will come.”