More than 20 cable networks will descend on Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego this week to promote their hit shows to a unique and passionate fan base.
Despite the convention’s expansion and growing commercial appeal – from a gathering of about 300 comic-book fans in 1970 into a four-day convention drawing more than 130,000 attendees – network executives say the July 12-21 expo still provides an intimate connection between fans and talent which helps get the word out about a network’s hit shows.
Nearly double the number of cable networks will attend this year Comic-Con compared with just two years ago.
“For us it’s a terrific place to showcase our shows,” Linda Schupack, AMC's executive vice president of marketing, said. In this case, the shows in question are returning hits The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad.
“Comic-Con is really a place where passionate fans come to connect with their favorite shows and properties. It allows the fan base to celebrate as a community,” she added.
“The landscape is thicker and more people know about Comic-Con, but I don’t see that as a negative,” Stephanie Gibbons, executive vice president of marketing & on-air promotion for FX, said. “There are few opportunities to have the consumer directly interact with the consumer.”
Show stars and producers now realize how important Comic-Con can be in “in building early awareness and building that connection,” Gibbons added. “Now that talent knows about it’s easier to pull together panels where they understand the construct and they have a feel for it.”
Syfy executive vice president, marketing and global brand strategy Michael Engleman said one social-media tactic his network will employ there is offering prizes for consumers who tweet images from the Defiance Café exhibition. The network has been a fixture at Comic-Con over the years, bringing stars from such shows as Haven and Being Human (pictured) to the convention.
“It now requires marketers to be more innovative and smarter about their presence,” Engleman said. “At its heart, Comic Con is still a fan celebration and an opportunity for us to connect with our fans with our talent. Regardless of how crowded an environment it is, it’s still important to go celebrate the fan.”
A partial list of networks and shows appearing at Comic-Com in San Diego:
Adult Swim – The Heart, She Holler; The Ventura Bros.; Children’s Hospital; NTSF:SD:SVU
AMC – The Walking Dead; Breaking Bad
A&E – Bates Motel
BBC America – Orphan Black; Dr. Who
Cartoon Network – MAD; Adventure Time; Teen Titans Go!; Beware The Batman; Ben 10
Cinemax – Banshee; Strike Back
Comedy Central – South Park; Workaholics; Brickleberry; Futurama
Discovery – Mythbusters
Disney Channel – Phineas and Ferb; Gravity Falls
FearNet – Holliston
Fx – Wilfred; Archer; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Sons of Anarchy
HBO – Game Of Thrones; True Blood
History – Vikings
Hub – My Little Pony
In Demand – Movies On Demand promotion: Evil Dead; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; G.I. Joe: Retaliation
MTV – Teen Wolf
Nickelodeon – The Legend Of Korra; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; SpongeBob SquarePants
Showtime – Dexter
Science – Outrageous Acts Of Science; Unexplained Files
Starz -- Black Sails
Syfy – Defiance: Haven: Helix; Being Human: Warehouse 13: Lost Girl
TNT – Falling Skies
USA Network – Psych