Archive for April, 2012
This year, we returned to Pittsburgh Comicon representing Sorgatron Media with a new game plan. No longer did we have Mangtoons to team up with since it’s proprietor headed out to New Jersey for the next step in his career. But this year, we had something more. Something to actually sell. So we upgraded from the lowly Artist Alley to Small Press booths selling IWC and RWA DVDs that we’ve been producing and distributing lately.
As usual, it’s an educational experience…
Stan Lee doesn’t pack a Con. I was shocked on how many people A. didn’t know the yearly Comic Con was that weekend and B. didn’t pack the Monroeville Convention Center with word of Stan Lee. Attending the Baltimore Comic Con, you could barely move. You needed to buy a ticket to get a glimpse at Stan Lee.
Less to see. I don’t know if I’m jaded from my first year on the Con circuit, but there wasn’t much to get excited about. I brought a camera, but had no interest in filming much of anything. Those I was interested in talking with we already talked with last year, or already feature on other shows on our network. The best thing I saw all weekend was the World’s Strongest Redneck who came to our booth and bent a nail. Amazing. The people were there, and the community
World Gets Smaller. Again. As I run around and hit these wrestling shows and Cons, I’m starting to feel the world shrinkage. It was great to see the Dork Trek and Torres vs Zombies guys I met up at Baltimore just a few booths down from our setup. Seeing all of the comic book crew like Jon Towers, Scott Hedlund, and Dan Greenwald just bouncing around and hanging out was cool as always. I love I was able to introduce them to the World’s Strongest Redneck. Even some local wrestlers stopped by the booth.
We Upgraded. Or Did We? We made a quick decision last year that we were not going to be doing the Artist Alley this year. It made sense. We had stuff to sell. We weren’t doing art. Sure. But when I did swing back and realized how much more room they got next to last year, and prime draw location by Stan Lee’s area, it made me wonder if we made the right move. Either way, I’m sure an earlier placement that wasn’t in a corner would have helped, but you never know. It’s that economics of the tables and making it back we stil have to learn.
It’s nice to sell something. We did the promotional thing for Pittsburgh and Baltimore last year, and don’t really know how much we ended up getting form it. No way to gauge it. It’s just great to get out and talk to the people about wrestling, or web comic. But it’s nice to have something that is a physical something to sell. We did a lot of great work reaching out for our shows and services, as well as preach the pro wrestling groups in their back yard. And we were able to see some immediate results as RWA had a show that Saturday night we filmed and one of the guys that came by talked to me. One fan at a time!
Altogether, I can’t see not going back next year. Even if the whole experience makes me shake my head from the lack of social media efforts to perhaps a lack of caring. (I know people who couldn’t find anyone at the front door to pay for a ticket to come in. ) But it’s THE Comic Con of the area, and it’s our home base.
What’s next? We are targeting the Steel City Con, which will be great with the wrestling guests it already has to attract our kind of audience right off the bat. We are also looking at the logistics of doing Sci-Fi in the Valley in Edensburgh (by Johnstown). They are having some local wrestling out that way, and lets face it, there’s wrestling on SyFy these days, right?
The following is a post I wrote up for WrestlineMayhemShow.com based on our online PPV experience. Big thanks to AJ Kuftic for the thought to do it this way so we can put our money where our mouth is on this matter. Thought it fit with the cord cutting discussions I often have here.
I am a cord cutter. And as such my television hobby, professional wrestling, has been hard to keep legit.
For this case, we are giving a fair shake to obtaining a legitimate pay per view from those juggernauts at WWE.com. Going into this, I know I was always skeptical on what quality they would deliver based on what quality video the site has had over the years otherwise. Would they respect a quality boost knowing I paid exactly what I would have if I did have a cable subscription hooked up? Thankfully, our good friend AJ was willing to give it a shot in his wallet, and we all got to see the results.
What did we use? I hooked up a late 2009 MacBook Pro on my 25/25 Verizon FIOS connection, and a 720p HDMI hookup to 42″ Vizio LCD.
So we had the login and the pre-purchase. Easy enough. But did it hold up? Do we feel slighted for paying 54.95 for a sub par experience?
From what I can tell, we paid the same amount as you would on a standard definition viewing of the show. If you look at it like what, and have VPN Er watched one of those on an HD TV, you know how blocky and ugly it can get. I know watching RAW or a PPV on an HD channel n Comcast or FIOS I have seen shameful macroblocking on fireworks or strobe light entrances. I never expect a picture perfect edition.
The show was watchable. Sometimes, during entrances, lots of shot changes, or the cage match, the video just fell apart. It was watchable, but not quite better than the three clicks it would have take a to watch the same show for free somewhere else. Some things like CM Punk’s tattoos just meshed together. Some really unfortunate stuff, but only took away the experience slightly.
As for reliability, I was really impressed. I don’t think we had a video drop all night. There were a few blackouts and glitches, but it seemed to be camera or broadcast issues there at the show that likely went out to every paying viewer out there. the important part is that we could mostly forget a out the stream. If I had the feeling of needing to babysit the stream, hope it didn’t go down, biting my nails all night, it’s different than I would expect in reliability in a cable connection.
The biggest issue is the cost for what you do get. At least as a comparison point, our talk amongst ourselves afterwards led to the idea that WWE should give some sort of discount to the online purchase like this. To the average joe, not on the “cutting edge” cord cutters like me, what is the incentive to go with this option? Why not do the cable PPV I always do? Or worse yet, what’s to keep me forgoing to use the easy to find free streams?
In the quality side, it has some way to go. This is the first time I looked for the online PPV option that I didn’t have to dig for. But we also had the YouTube streamed WrestleMania pre-show running in full 720p through the same setup. That hurt to switch off to the paid stream. I’ve been enjoying HD streams on Hulu Plus and YouTube via my Xbox 360 for years that has rivaled my neighbor’s DirecTV. The tech is out there. YouTube is shoring up content, and WWE is picking up productions with these streaming pre shows, press conferences and streaming content. You have to think that they are already considering YouTube’s infrastructure for serving Pay Per Views. When this happens and looks Asa good as the live streaming Rock/Cena special did, or NXT does every week for me, then my money will be even easier greased to leave my wallet.
So while the online experience leaves a bit to be desired, as long as I consider the quality compared to that Standard Definition price, I can swallow this to be a legitimate watcher of WWE PPVs for now, so long as I can continue to get people interested in splitting it with me. Otherwise, the cost is now the sole prohibitive element, like anyone else out there. But that’s another issue altogether.
So what do you think? What would you like to see that would make you shell out for Pay Per Views more consistently online?