Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Japan Expo News

Japan Expo is the largest anime convention in Europe, taking place at around the same time as North America's Anime Expo. Today, they have announced their convention attendance which has broken previous the previous record made last year. Japan Expo 2012 had an unique attendance of 165,000 [Source] and had a turnstyle attendance of 208,000 over the course of four days [source]. In comparison, Anime Expo 2011's attendance was 125,000 turnstyle attendance and Japan's Comiket drew 550,000 turnstyle attendance.

There are several reasons why Japan Expo has had explosive growth compared to the North American conventions. The first is that the North American anime convention scene is much more fragmented compared to Europe's anime convention scene. There is practically a convention (or several conventions) that happen over the course of a weekend in North America. In contrast, there are very few European anime cons compared to North America. The second reason is cultural exposure to anime and manga. In Europe, countries like France and Italy have mature manga markets that have been established for well over 40 years. In contrast, the manga market in the USA and Canada did not really establish a foothold until around 10 years ago. Europe is an established mature market for anime and manga compared to the North American market. This means that there is more of a generational acceptance of those entertainment mediums in Europe in contrast to North America. The third reason is the population density, which makes for a mobile market. As you can tell with the Japan Expo number, they had a relatively large unique attendance to turnstyle attendance ratio compared to North American anime cons. This can be attributed to a more mobile market so that people can attend the event for a day, compared to North American anime cons where people attend it over the course of the weekend. These three reasons combined creates the perfect storm of having a massive convention like Japan Expo.

In the beginning of the convention, SEFA made a huge announcement that rocked the North American convention world, that they would be starting a North American convention. There aren't currently many details about it except that they are aiming for 12,000 to 15,000 attendees for their first year. The convention will also be in late Summer in 2013 in Northern California. President and CEO of SEFA Entertainment Sean Chiochankitmun admitted that the goals for the attendance was ambitious but he thinks "that Cali will eventually let us get that number [source]." He also pointed out that California's density of anime cons is much smaller than the convention scene in the Northeast corner of North America. It will be interesting to see how Japan Expo USA will make its mark in the convention world, but with support from former Otakon executives there is no doubt that the event will be popular.

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