Normally, I'd just say "whoop-de-doo" and delete this press release from my inbox. But something about this has been nagging me in the back of my mind since it was sent earlier today.
Anime Expo is a very different convention than Otakon or many others -- it's one of the few business-run anime conventions, right up there with New York Anime Fest. Meaning that while the event is geared towards fans, there's a profit to be made and a business to be run, and so they need to have a certain mindset in their leadership.
It's not necessarily a bad thing. Cons can be run more efficiently, bigger talent can be acquired, and things can go off without a hitch if you've got the right people working there. So I guess that's why SPJA is pulling in someone who's worked for the NBC Universal family, including their Universal Studios Japan operation -- a big attraction for all the cool Kansai kids.
I have a feeling that after this past year's AX, which certainly didn't seem like their reported 44,000 people, the upper brass needed to keep things moving in an upward direction. Talking with Dale and others, it feels like anime cons are going to hit a bit of a recession in these next few years, as they'll gear themselves more towards fan-oriented measures, and put lesser importance on the guests.
We'll see how things turn out, especially under Mr. Lattanzio's watchful eye.
Anaheim, California (September 8, 2009) ‹ The Society for the Promotion of
Japanese Animation (SPJA) announces Mr. Michael Lattanzio as President and
Chief Executive Officer for the organization that oversees the nation¹s
largest Anime and Manga convention Anime Expo®. More information can be
found on the website www.spja.org <http://www.spja.org> .
Mr. Lattanzio is a dynamic and innovative executive who has held leadership
roles with top caliber companies such as Universal Studios, Inc, Universal
Studios Japan, NBC Universal, and Westfield, LLC. He has earned a BS degree
in Business Management and has also attained an MBA in Executive Management.
³I look forward to working with an energetic Board of Directors, a talented
managerial team, passionate staff and volunteer members, and all affiliated
Anime and Manga entities. I plan to build on past successes and lead this
extraordinary organization to new heights. The Society for the Promotion of
Japanese Animation has certainly made a name for itself attracting millions
of Anime and Manga enthusiasts. We will continue to deliver at the highest
level, globalize our brands, establish new partnerships, and be recognized
by the Anime and Manga population as the leader in our industry,² states Mr.
As Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Lattanzio will oversee the strategic vision
of the SPJA, day-to-day operations, and the development of Anime Expo®-the
nation¹s largest Anime/Manga convention that serves to foster trade,
commerce and the interests of the general public and animation/comics
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