Originally Posted by Jr.
One thing tho isn't it impossible to continue to run a con if you are not taking in enough money to pay for it.
I don't think you quite understand the model here, so I'll try to explain. The idea is that con is free for the baseline attendance. If you want to go to a concert, visit Exhibit Hall, see a panel, go to a workshop, check out a video room, walk around Artist Alley, get an autograph, etc... All that stuff is free. From there you can choose to buy a passport to get priority on all the big stuff.
Concerts/Exhibits/Autographs... all of these are events where passport holders get in first. At concerts, that means you get to pick the best seats before the general admission comes in. At Exhibits, that means you get an early shot at any vendors with Limited Edition Merch Thing X, or just have some time to browse before the crowd comes in. At Autographs, getting priority in line improves your chances of getting an autograph.
The goal here isn't to just be another anime con. The point is to give a boost to the industry as a whole. There are two key points to a successful customer base, and those are acquisition (getting new customers) and retention (keeping old customers interested). Anime cons are typically good for retention. They serve as a place for fans to gather and share their love of the hobby, as well as a chance to see people involved in the creation of their favorite series. It reinforces our appreciation of anime and manga, and reminds us why we became fans in the first place.
In terms of acquisition though, those selling points don't mean as much. Prioritizing fans inherently forces you to focus a bit less on non-fans. AMē obviously isn't ignoring the fans, but what we want is to shift that balance more in the direction of non-fans. The core idea behind AMē can be summed up this way: People who don't know anything about football probably won't want to pay for Superbowl tickets, but they might be willing to give it a chance if entry was free. Once they're actually at the game, they might find they like football after all (or in our case, anime/manga). We're here to bring in new people and turn them into fans.
Getting back to your initial point, yes, running a con without income is unsustainable. At the end of the day, we use the same sources of income as most other cons, we just can't rely on Registration as much as most cons would. Since nobody has
to buy a passport, we're relying on the benefits
to convince people, and it really is a solid package. As people have pointed out in other threads, buying a passport then heading over to Disneyland saves you money (and that's before the Downtown Disney merch discount).
Sorry this post ran on so long. I just wanted to clear up why we feel that AMē needs
to be free, and the philosophy behind the decision. If you want to help support what AMē represents, by all means, go ahead and buy a passport. If not, come for free.
Honestly, the best thing you could do for us is help get the word out to people who aren't
fans already. If you've got friends who don't really know much about anime/manga, send them our way. Even if we don't get a single dollar from you guys, that's cool, because our goal was never to make big money in the first place. The only reason AMē cares about money at all is so we can keep on finding ways to help you share an interest in anime and manga with your friends who aren't fans yet, and strengthen the industry a bit in the process.