The Sad Numbers From Comic-Con @ Home

Photo By: Emmanuel Gomez

I’ve attended San Diego Comic-Con for the past three years. This after only attending other shows for many years before. The one thing I have learned for sure is that there is no other show like it. From the moment you arrive on Wednesday morning to the time you depart on Sunday evening, you are immersed in an indescribable pop-culture bubble. This year was a little different. Due to the current ban on mass gatherings, Comic-Con International had to go virtual with [email protected]. Today with the annual event a year behind us, we can look at some numbers and ask the question, how did it do?

Before we venture into the answer that most people already expect let’s make one thing clear. Comic-Con International by all means intended to put on a full convention this year, but that decision was out of their hands. They only had a few months to pivot over to a virtual convention and attempt to bring some of the Comic-Con experience to our screens. There was even an interactive map of the huge convention floor that contained links to exhibitors that fill the floor with all kinds of merchandise from all corners of pop-culture. The results of this convention are not for their lack of trying, it’s just something that has to be experienced live.


Last week’s [email protected] featured virtual, pre-recorded panels from some of our favorite franchises. These included The Walking Dead, Star Trek, New Mutants, Amazon Prime Originals, and a couple of Keanu Reeves films. It was immediately evident that the loss of the live experience and crowd interaction was missed by the presentations. How many times have we seen videos of Comic-Con panels and fed from the excitement of the crowd? As much as presenters tried to make the virtual panels exciting… they just weren’t.

Photo By: Emmanuel Gomez

Via Variety we have some alarming numbers about the lack of interest in the virtual convention. YouTube hosted most of the panels and as of today the most viewed panel from [email protected] was the 20 Century Fox presentation for, The New Mutants. It has logged over 208,000 views on the video streaming site since it’s release. Its social impact was dismal with only 1,230 tweets during the convention.

The best performing television was the panel for AMC’s The Walking Dead. This had over 84,000 views on YouTube and generated almost 11,900 tweets. The two other panels for The Walking Dead spin-off shows did poorly. Fear the Walking Dead had about 66,000 views and The Walking Dead: World Beyond had 21,000 views. The issue with these panels and most of the panels, in general, didn’t have any fan interaction. Even the comment section was turned off for the YouTube panels.

So if no one was watching the panels, that means that nobody was talking about them either. According to the social media analytics firm ListenFirst, tweets that mentioned [email protected] were down 95% from last year’s live convention. Overall there were 93,681 tweets over the five-day event, against the 1,719,000 tweets from last year. Tweets from the top 10 television events were down 93% and tweets from the top 5 movie events were down 99%. Crickets… literal crickets.

Photo By: Emmanuel Gomez


What is worse is that [email protected] didn’t even have the most talked about event of the weekend. The winner was an independent fan convention called, JusticeCon. This featured a panel with Justice League director, Zack Snyder. Here he revealed a short clip of his Superman in a black suit that will be featured in his Snyder Cut of the film next spring. It’s also important to note that the panel was live and that Snyder was interacting with fans throughout the evening. The panel had over 260,000 views in less than 48 hours.

It didn’t help the situation that the usual heavy hitters like DC, Marvel, and Lucasfilm didn’t have a presence at the convention. DC opted to have its own event next month called DC FanDome. It will be interesting to see what kind of buzz this one-day event can generate compared to last week’s virtual show.

Comic-Con is such a beast of a convention that it’s impossible to try and come close to replicate it with anything else. Sure we can call this a failure, but given the circumstances, I will still give it an “A” for effort. Like I mentioned before, this is not the show they wanted to put out. Hopefully next year we can all once again come together and put this nightmare of a year behind us. For now, let’s all do our part to make sure we all stay safe and do what we can to reduce risk and get our conventions back!!!

Photo By: Emmanuel Gomez

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Source: Variety

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