ICv2 caught up with John McGeary, V.P. of Reed Exhibitions, late on the final day of the first New York Anime Festival to ask him for his impressions of how the show he directed had fared over its inaugural weekend.
How did today (Sunday) go?
Fantastic, it was a great day. It exceeded our expectations once again. Just a phenomenal day for the fans -- it went well -- there was a good buzz on the floor. Today was the day that we really assessed feedback from the exhibitors and fans alike and we got a good number of the exhibitors who want to re-sign. Even though we don't have our dates firmed up yet, we got some really good feedback on when they would like the show to happen and what their intentions are for next year.
Where did you end up on attendance?
We actually exceeded our expectations there -- our original goal was between 10 and 15 (thousand) -- and we are adding it up now and it will reach over the 15 mark -- I can't give you a final number yet because we haven't finished our tabulations yet -- our finance people are going through it now and they are going to go back to the audience and verify.
So it sounds like traffic must have been very steady on Saturday and Sunday?
Yeah, it was great -- yesterday it really picked up in the early to late afternoon and into the evening, and today was pretty much of a steady flow all day, but tending to be a little bit heavier late in the day.
What were your observations of the attendees in terms of age and gender?
It's interesting, one of our exhibitors was actually taking a survey on site -- and what they had traditionally found at anime shows was that it is usually a 50/50 split between men and women, but they found here at our show that it was 60/40 -- 60% men and 40% women. That's not our assessment yet, but that's what one of the exhibitors found in their survey.
What are you looking at as far as dates next year?
We have two possible dates for next year -- September 26th through 28th or similar (to this year's show) weekend in December, I think it's December 3rd through the 5th. We had exhibitors fill out a little survey and those who filled it out are leaning towards December, but that's just the exhibitors, we haven't yet heard from the fans. We will putting out a post-show survey and we won't make any decisions until we've heard from exhibitors and fans alike.
What was the attendance like a screenings and events?
Great, the concert last night-phenomenal, a completely packed house -- the crowd was really enthused. Most of the panels and screenings were full, filled to the brim. Some even had waiting lines to get in -- standing room only. The Maid Cafe was full all day Saturday and today. So it was pretty much a full house, a packed house.
Did you get any feel for the amount of commerce on the floor, what the dealers did?
Most of the dealers were happy. The guys who had lower price point items said they thought their items were priced very well and they did well. A lot of the guys with the higher price point items, they did well but, like some of them who had kimonos for $200 -- the fans weren't actually ready to make purchases today, but may do it later, because they weren't prepared to spend that much here.
That sort of ties in with what I noticed -- that it was a fairly young crowd--younger than New York Comic Con?
I would say that's absolutely true. It was a younger crowd, much younger than the average age of New York Comic Con; however that is the kind of information we will find out for sure in the post-show survey. In terms of what the average age was, I can tell you it was definitely a much younger crowd. I would say it was mostly high school with some college.
The cosplay activity looked pretty heavy, what was your evaluation of that scene?
The World Cosplay Summit was probably one of the most heavily attended parts of the show -- again it was filled to the brim. We had about 21 contestant groups, all with very elaborate costumes. As you know we had the World Cosplay Judge come over from
The cosplay action on the floor was also very robust.
Yeah there was a lot of impromptu cosplay action as well. Over by the Maid Cafe we had a lot of free area for the kids to do whatever they wanted -- line dancing, role-playing, whatever they wanted -- it really added to the excitement and the community feel that we think the show had.