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March 16, 2009


CR News: Comi-Con International To End On-Site Press/Pro Registration

By Tom Spurgeon

San Diego's Comic-Con International announced over the weekend they're not only likely to have all of this summer's expected attendees sign up in advance via the just sold-out four-day pass and all of the rapidly selling one-day passes, but the professionals and press to do the same.

imageThe difference between the press and professionals and attendees is that the convention plans to make this happen for the press and pros by policy rather than through the market. They will eliminate on-site registration from Comic-Con for a pre-registration policy. "The primary reason is to prevent overcrowding," the convention's David Glanzer told CR. Glanzer presented the change in strategy as a sharpening of emphasis rather than a radical departure. "As you know, pre-registration for pros and guests has always been a policy of ours. The same is true for just about any department in Comic-Con. We've encouraged pre-registration for attendees, and press as well, which helps alleviate long lines for on-site registration. Of course things have changed a bit these days. So crowding and safety is always a concern." Glanzer also notes that in recent years on-site registration has been limited by those crowds. "In the past we've had to close on-site registration for some departments. The obvious problem with this, of course, is that you don't want someone hoping to buy a pass and being turned away at the door so pre-registration only seems a great way to alleviate crowding and potentially having to turn people away at the door."

Glanzer noted that with press in particular, this new policy has been building gradually for years. "In the past press really did come last minute. We've made great strides in trying to prevent that from happening," he said. "The truth is now most of our press registers in advance. Last year we actually warned press that on site registration may have to close and, in fact, we did have to close on site at one point."

Reminded that it was only a few years ago at the show when passes were dispensed in loose enough fashion you could walk up to certain well-connected folks and ask for extra badges they had in their pockets with generic names on them, Glanzer was further asked if tighter control was really all that necessary, and if so, why? Glanzer re-emphasized the crowding issue. Asked if there would be any flexibility if the con were to add a very popular guest at the last minute leading to a flood of additional media requests, Glanzer noted that major media has generally been amenable to pre-registration, and that if need be, they could explore alternative strategies such as creating a pool coverage situation among existing media.

Comic-Con International 2009 is scheduled for July 23-26 at San Diego's Convention Center.
 
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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