It has already been an eventful 2015 for the pop culture convention masters with the recent launch of digital streaming service ConTV, a joint venture with Cinedigm, and the tide just keeps rolling for Wizard World, as they have now announced the latest addition to what has rapidly become a crowded monthly box service marketplace.
Loot Crate is a themed box service: each month, a new theme is used, and the box’s contents are all related to that theme. Items range from t-shirts, to Funko Pop! vinyl figures, to downloadable digital content, and more. As it has grown, Loot Crate has added exclusive items only available to Loot Crate subscribers, as well as item-centric contests. In addition to monthly crates, each month, there is a Mega Crate winner; this Mega Crate also fits the given month’s theme but is filled with more valuable items. For these things, Loot Crate carries a price that ranges from $17.95/month (including shipping) to $19.95/month (including shipping), depending on how many months you want to lock yourself into.
Nerd Block is also themed, but in an entirely different way: you choose your theme when you subscribe. The service offers choices like Comic Block, Horror Block, or Nerd Block Jr: to name just a few. In this way, Nerd Block has created, within itself, a subset of options for people looking for a monthly subscription box service. As a result of this approach, Nerd Block offers the largest variety in items you may receive: action figures, t-shirts, comic books, and–yes–Funko Pop! vinyl figures, as well as its own exclusive items not available anywhere else. Depending on which theme you desire, Nerd Block’s price can range from $13.99/month (plus shipping) to $19.99/month (plus shipping).
Marvel Collector Corps
Before Wizard World decided to join the fray, this little dude was the newest premium box subscription service. As you can probably guess, Marvel Collector Corps is also a themed box service; the only difference is it only has one theme: Marvel comics. There will be sub-themes, such as the first box’s Avengers: Age of Ultron theme, but it’s all-Marvel, all the time. If, for some reason, you don’t like Marvel, this is clearly not the service for you. Items are said to include apparel, collectibles, and accessories–and they will all be exclusive and not available anywhere else. Oh, did I forget to mention this is a joint venture with Funko? Well, it is, so it will also include those ubiquitous figures. As if the exclusivity and Marvel-theme didn’t differentiate this service enough, there’s also the big factor that it is not actually a monthly service; it is bi-monthly. You pay $25/box, and you get a box every two months; that comes out to $12.50/month (plus shipping). It’s the cheapest of the bunch, but it also includes half the amount of boxes. There is also a “Founders Membership”. If you pay for a year up front (every year), you become a Founder and receive a yearly additional item: a collectible figure.
Now, after all of that, what could Wizard World possibly offer that can make it stand out in that crowd? Well, Wizard World is in a unique position–not unlike Marvel–in that they do have 100% exclusive items they can offer. They are their own brand and can offer things people want from that brand. Ostensibly, any valuable brand can have a monthly box subscription service and have it work just as Wizard World’s will succeed. They just have to make sure the items they’re offering are legitimately exclusive to their brand. Yes, they can offer apparel, toys, and Funko Pop! vinyl figures if they want, but the unique opportunity for Wizard World is in their position as the premiere convention destination. Because Wizard World holds conventions all over the country, and because each of those conventions feature not only international superstars but also local personalities and retailers, Wizard World is in the unique position of being able to curate a monthly box service to include both items from well-known entities (like Funko or any given celebrity) but also “new” entities like a vendor in Austin or a cosplayer in Seattle: truly unique items from conventions maybe you couldn’t attend. That’s at least what I think Wizard World would benefit from doing, and from the service’s description on their website, it looks like they’re at least utilizing that unique opportunity to some extent, by promising the inclusion of celebrity autographs, licensed artwork, convention tickets, and discounts. In addition, ComicConBox embraces the popular act of “Unboxing”, providing the ability to send them a link to your unboxing video on Youtube, in order to enter for a chance to win a grand prize. The service is listed as “starting at $29.99/month”; that makes this the most expensive of these four services, but if they can cash in on their brand, I think it’s more than worth it.
Full disclosure: I subscribed to Loot Crate for a year, a subscription which ended this month, and I subscribed to a year of Marvel Collector Corps when it was announced in January. I have never held a subscription to Nerd Block, and I have not yet decided if I will subscribe to ComicConBox.
Below is the press release from Wizard World, in its entirety:
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 22, 2015 — Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) today announced the launch of ComicConBox™, a subscription-based premium monthly box service which offers fans the opportunity to receive exclusive collectibles, toys, technology, games, licensed artwork, comics, apparel, Wizard World Comic Con tickets, VIP discounts and more, delivered right to their doors.
The service, priced at $29.99 per month with no contractual commitment, will also feature Epic Grand Prizes in random boxes. The first monthly box is scheduled to ship on or about April 30, 2015.
“ComicConBox brings everything Comic Con to the doorsteps of fans every month,” said John Macaluso, Wizard World CEO. “Wizard World’s unique access to leaders in the entertainment industry and some of the most popular celebrities, creators and publishers means that ComicConBox will have the best quality and variation of products possible.”
ComicConBox™ packages will be sent to U.S. members on or around the 30th of each month.
Fans can join ComicConBox™ at http://ComicConBox.com and can interact with the service on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media outlets as well as via email at Support@ComicConBox.com.
About Wizard World Presents ComicConBox™
Wizard World Presents ComicConBox™ (http://ComicConBox.com) is a premium subscription-based monthly box service, featuring collectibles, exclusives, toys, tech and gaming, licensed artwork, superior comics and apparel, Wizard World Comic Con tickets, special VIP discounts and more. Boxes ship to U.S. members on or around the 30th of each month and also feature Epic Grand Prizes in random packages.
About Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD)
Wizard World, Inc. (http://www.wizardworld.com) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, television, cosplay, comics, graphic novels, toys, video gaming, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place at each event, with celebrity Q&A’s, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Wizard World has also launched ConTV, a digital media channel in partnership with leading independent content distributor Cinedigm™ (NASDAQ: CIDM), and ComicConBox™, a premium subscription-based monthly box service. Fans can interact with Wizard World on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media services.
About CONtv (NASDAQ: CIDM)
CONtv (http://www.CONtv.com) is a new digital entertainment network devoted exclusively to the fanspace that provides audiences access to thousands of hours of content showcasing an original slate of programming, as well as an eclectic catalog of over 2,500 must-watch titles. Everything from quirky original series, elusive cult films & television shows, celebrated genre movies encompassing sci-fi, horror, fantasy, anime, grindhouse, martial arts action, to exclusive live coverage of Comic Con events nationwide, all available on-demand either in a free, ad-supported format or a subscription-based model for premium content. CONtv is a partnership of Cinedigm, one of the nation’s largest independent distributor of digital entertainment, and Wizard World, producers of the largest Comic Con Tour in the U.S. Together, they provide an unrivalled hub of content, community and conventions across the broad spectrum of devices including Android and Mac iOS, Roku Players and Roku TV, Samsung Smart TV, the web, and mobile and tablet devices.
Wizard World 2015 schedule available at: http://wizd.me/PRSchedule2015.