Saturday, August 13, 2011

D23 Expo 2011: Where's the Buzz?

So we're a week away from the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. Regular readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of Disney D23 fan club for a whole list of reasons but I don't have anything against anyone who wants to be a D23er. It's your money. But I do follow D23 from a distance and keep track of what is being written about the Expo on various Disney websites, blogs, and forums. Compared to the 2009 D23 Expo, the one thing that is most noticeable is the incredible lack of "buzz" about this year's Expo. In 2009, excitement was everywhere and rumors were running wild. In the end, Disney ended up losing money on the deal even with all the excitement.

This year everything about the Expo seems to be manufactured, attempts to generate some grassroots enthusiasm that doesn't seem to be there. The website owners and reporters will be there in full force trying to be the "first" with a D23 exclusive through Twitter. They promote their own meet-ups and lounges at the Expo but their readers seem to have taken the build up with a great big "Yawn". (Note: If you follow D23 reporters via Twitter, make sure you set your Twitter account to not except tweets during your normal sleeping hours. Nothing like getting a text tweet at 12:30 in the morning with some D23 reporter saying he just got on Matterhorn).

Now I'm sure the Expo will be great. Disney excels at delivering great shows but the question will be "does anyone really care enough the invest in the cost of attending the Expo and what is available for purchase inside?". In a brutal economy where almost everyone is effected, Disney is pricing out a large segment of its base from D23 and the Expo. The Expo will be well attended I am sure but there is no way of telling of how many people will be there with discount ticket provided by Disney to prop up the crowd numbers. Disney never, ever, announces numbers. And what is the future of D23? I have my theories but it comes down to unless the D23 model changes, it is not sustainable in the long term.

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