Home Con News MCM / REEDPOP: convention supergiants join forces to expand brand into UK

MCM Expo – the convention organizers behind the MCM Comic Con events, including the massive MCM London Comic Con show. held this upcoming weekend – have been growing exponentially over the last few years, with shows held each year in cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and that there Capital. It’s been quite breathtaking.

That growth has also caught the attention of show organisers from further afield, too, with big names flittering around like butterflies. Even Comic-Con International, in the form of David Glanzer (CCI’s Chief Communications & Strategy Officer) met with MCM representatives at the summer edition of MCM London Comic Con this year. But it’s come to light that CCI’s biggest rivals in North America that appear to have wooed MCM enough to come to a major arrangement, announced today – cue, ReedPOP stage left.

“For nearly a decade I’ve watched with great admiration as the MCM brand grew in size, scale and quality, as well as in the hearts and minds of UK fans. I could not be more proud and humbled to team up with the MCM team to bring two world-class pop culture event companies together,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Head of ReedPOP said in the official statement. “The addition of the MCM brand extends the reach and influence of the ReedPOP portfolio and further solidifies our place as the number one producer of fan events across the globe. We cannot wait to work with the MCM team to build even bigger and better events for fans in the UK.”

The two companies have mirrored each other on both sides of the Atlantic in terms of expansion and growth: MCM Comic Con was co-founded by Bryan Cooney in 2002, as the London Expo. In 2004, the company rebranded as London MCM Expo – the ‘MCM’ standing for ‘Movies, Comics, Media’ – and in 2005, it took the first steps that would transform it from a collectors’ and autograph event into a comic con, with the addition of dedicated comics and anime areas plus film and TV content. More recent years saw MCM spread its wings, launching events across the UK.

Meanwhile, ReedPOP has grown into the world’d leading event organiser, with worldwide shows like New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) West, East, South and Australia, Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC), BookCon, Oz Comic Con, Comic Con India, Comic Con Paris, Comic Con SeoulStar Wars Celebration, TwitchCon, ComplexCon and more, blazing a trail.

Bryan Cooney had this to say about the deal: “Everyone at MCM is delighted to be joining the ReedPOP family.  I have visited NYCC many times and thought how cool would it be to work with Lance and ReedPOP.  Today, all my wishes are granted.  I look forward to launching MCM into a higher orbit of popular culture’s greatest shows alongside ReedPOP.”

Exciting stuff. What AEISD finds fascinating about this deal comes on several fronts:

  • This is not a merger, or a hands-across-the-water collaboration – this a full-blown acquisition of MCM by ReedPop which begs the question: what will this do to the shape of MCM shows, in terms of content, especially on the comics side? New York Comic Con has been the home of one of North America’s biggest Artists Alleys and, while, MCM have been making great strides in developing its Comic Village area of its shows, the primary draw for attendees has been the pop culture areas of the shows. Will we be seeing more comics content on display at MCM shows, moving forward?
  • Another big element of ReedPop shows is the incredible talent pool when it comes to their staff and volunteers – the bodies on the ground at shows such as New York Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration truly is top notch. With ReedPop raving about what the already established strength of MCM shows, it’s unlikely we’ll see a total changing of guard from imported blood but will we be seeing MCM volunteers being trained up to ReedPop’s specifications?
  • Another big element of ReedPOP shows is the ‘Big Show’ a lot of razzmatazz and bedazzle – while MCM ramp up the glamour for their shows, they still stay quintessentially British. Will we start to see something a little more Hollywood introduced to the shows? And will we see new faces hosting the panels?

The answers to these questions will become apparent as the ramifications of the deal affect shows lined up in 2018 and beyond… The general consensus online has been that of ‘wait and see’ what the long-lasting impact will be. Thoughts, opinions? That’s what the comments box below is for…


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