Online ComicCon@Home event fails to ignite audience numbers

Ben Arnold
·2-min read
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 21: General view of the atmosphere outside  2019 Comic-Con International on July 21, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)
Comic-Con International on July 21, 2019 in San Diego, California (Credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

The flagship Comic-Con in San Diego usually attracts more A-list stars and trailer premieres than you can shake a stick at.

Thousands of movie and comic fans cram into the hallowed 'Hall H', where the biggest panel events take place, for a chance to see their screen heroes in the flesh.

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This year, due to the coronavirus lockdown, the event shifted its business online.

But according to stats on virtual attendance and interest published in Variety, things didn't go at all well.

Analytics firm ListenFirst recorded tweet mentions of the event down 95% from last year – 93,681 compared to a staggering 1.7 million from last year.

David Harbour, from left, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson participate during the "Black Widow" portion of the Marvel Studios panel on day three of Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 20, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
David Harbour, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson at the Black Widow panel on day three of Comic-Con International on July 20, 2019 (Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Meanwhile, tweets about the top five movie panels were down a massive 99% on last year, with TV panel chatter down 93%.

The event's YouTube viewership, its principal audience for the online-only event, attracted just 15,000 views on average per event.

“Fans couldn’t talk with creators,” ListenFirst chief marketing officer Tracy David told Variety. “[It] really deflated interest around the Comic-Con@Home experiment.”

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The best performing panel was for the much-delayed Marvel movie The New Mutants, which logged 208,000 views, which came off the back of the Fox studio providing a first look of the film's opening scene.

The panel for The Walking Dead meanwhile drew 84,000 views.

Organisers cancelled the event for the first time in 50 years in mid-April, so had just a few months to arrange the online event.

“Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year,” organisers said in a statement at the time.

More than 135,000 people attended the event in 2019 at the San Diego Convention Center.