My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Chat generally about the March 2009 MEMORABILIA show at the NEC Birmingham

My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby mcgill on Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:02 am

Hello

I've been attending Memorabilia for over ten years now, and I have to say that the commercialisation of the show annoys me intensely.

When I started attending, the guests usually charged £5 for your own items, and £10 or £15 for signed photos. Whilst the cost of photos hasnt changed all that much (some have gone up to £25, but generally most still remain around the £10-£15 mark), the cost of getting your own items has soared.

When I started attending, it was also possible to often negotiate directly with the guests about prices - so if you had multiples you could often get a set price for getting them all signed. This is very rarely possible now. For example, I had a number of items for a specific person at this show, and I have to say I have never felt so patronised as I did when I asked to see if I could do a deal. I was basically laughed at - or sneered at - take your pick. I was told that a deal wouldnt be considered, "certainly not" for the number I had. Another guest was overheard to be complaining why people weren't coming to get her autograph in the quantities they had previously. Simple answer - last time the person in question was only charging £5 per autograph on your own item - this time it was £15.

I have to say I think these changes are all due to another show, which has pushed for standard prices per autograph. This has now become endemic across autograph shows, which is a shame.

I would strongly recommend that you consider bringing back different prices for getting your own items signed. I would also ask that you consider more flexibility in the prices, to allow deals to take place. People like me (and there are a large number I know who collect as I do) like to get many items signed. If we're being asked to pay £15 per item, we're less likely to get multiples done - if indeed we bother at all. It would be better for the guest to sign - for example - five items for £30-40 than signing just one (if that) for £15.

It would be really nice if Memorabilia could differentiate itself from other shows in this respect.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby GREMLIN on Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:00 am

i totally agree i have only gone to the past 3 shows and i have to say if i was to get 3 things autographed that would be 45 pound and if i wasnt to take my own stuff add an extra £30 for photographs which would be $75 i average spend around 4-500 squidly's but for the people who get autographs to collect and not get autographs to sell should be looked after !
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Admin-2 on Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:49 am

On the autograph cost for your or their item, I think you will find it is about licencing issues and copyright for images.

Simply put, You are purchasing an autograph. By having 2 different costs you are putting a value on the item which would then suggest they are selling the item. This would require a legal licence agreement between the actor and the film/TV/Copyright holder which is just not possible.

So the item is never sold to you it is the Autograph.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby mcgill on Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:35 pm

I understand that. But how come it has only recently become an issue (in the last five years)? How come previously there was a differential in the cost? And what about ensuring that you look after the fans as well as you look after the dealers (who, in some if not most instances, will get bulk discounts)? And what about being belittled/patronised by your staff?
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Guardian on Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:21 pm

As far as the belittling or patronising aspect goes, I have always found the staff to be very helpful. Of course I suppose it depends on the staff... The Orange shirts were the central Memeorabilia crew who work for the organisiors. There were a couple of other signing areas that were run by other people, I guess for the guests that were brough in by external agencies. I had no problems with the Orange shirted staff or the guys who were looking after the Dr Who/Carry On people although I'm not sure who was looking after the Bond people, just a line of squashed in people!
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby pacresta on Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:44 pm

I have been going to memorabilia for the last 7 Years and I have always found the assistants to be polite and friendly, and this still seems to be the case with MCM. They are always engaging and chatty. The two with Linda Blair on sunday were really pleasant.

To be honest I have only ever had one problem and that was at a show run by someone else. Because I must admit I don't like been threatened just because I have a camera around my neck!!!

But never had a problem at Memorabilia
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Mark Hazard on Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:47 pm

Guardian wrote:As far as the belittling or patronising aspect goes, I have always found the staff to be very helpful. Of course I suppose it depends on the staff... The Orange shirts were the central Memeorabilia crew who work for the organisiors. There were a couple of other signing areas that were run by other people, I guess for the guests that were brough in by external agencies. I had no problems with the Orange shirted staff or the guys who were looking after the Dr Who/Carry On people although I'm not sure who was looking after the Bond people, just a line of squashed in people!


I think that has to be put down to the organisers, there were 11 Bond guests (I think), most with a helper, but for some reason the helpers were not really considered (don't know why). But I can't really complain too much, being squashed between two gorgeous Bond girls - what's there to moan about. :lol:
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby World Of Stuff on Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:58 am

Admin-2 wrote:On the autograph cost for your or their item, I think you will find it is about licencing issues and copyright for images.

Simply put, You are purchasing an autograph. By having 2 different costs you are putting a value on the item which would then suggest they are selling the item. This would require a legal licence agreement between the actor and the film/TV/Copyright holder which is just not possible.

So the item is never sold to you it is the Autograph.


What a load of old tosh! The reason for the huge hike in prices over the years can be explained by a four letter word - eBay!
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Admin on Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:02 pm

Even though you have had an answer on this I would also like to point out that in most cases we do not have a say in what a guests charges for 'their autograph', we can only try to keep them at a reasonable level.

In most cases you will find it to be the norm at most events here or in most other countries for the same price to be charged for a signature on your own item or on a photograph that you are given that is signed.

We understand your point and sympathise with it but as you had stated in another post on here I would imagine that Ebay or the like may be a reason for the pricing structure now and also the fact that people buy autographs to sell as an autograph dealer and a way of making a living so the autograph is no longer just a keepsake to some but a financial commodity also.

So it is not tosh, it is a case of supply and demand and a guest now knows their worth a lot more now than they did a number of years ago and of course certain events have caused a rise in the costs which we have no control over.

The above may hurt the general fan who wants to just collect a signature for their own collection but the guests have no way of knowing the difference now so I do not see this changing anytime soon at any event whether ours or others.

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mcgill wrote:Hello

I've been attending Memorabilia for over ten years now, and I have to say that the commercialisation of the show annoys me intensely.

When I started attending, the guests usually charged £5 for your own items, and £10 or £15 for signed photos. Whilst the cost of photos hasnt changed all that much (some have gone up to £25, but generally most still remain around the £10-£15 mark), the cost of getting your own items has soared.

When I started attending, it was also possible to often negotiate directly with the guests about prices - so if you had multiples you could often get a set price for getting them all signed. This is very rarely possible now. For example, I had a number of items for a specific person at this show, and I have to say I have never felt so patronised as I did when I asked to see if I could do a deal. I was basically laughed at - or sneered at - take your pick. I was told that a deal wouldnt be considered, "certainly not" for the number I had. Another guest was overheard to be complaining why people weren't coming to get her autograph in the quantities they had previously. Simple answer - last time the person in question was only charging £5 per autograph on your own item - this time it was £15.

I have to say I think these changes are all due to another show, which has pushed for standard prices per autograph. This has now become endemic across autograph shows, which is a shame.

I would strongly recommend that you consider bringing back different prices for getting your own items signed. I would also ask that you consider more flexibility in the prices, to allow deals to take place. People like me (and there are a large number I know who collect as I do) like to get many items signed. If we're being asked to pay £15 per item, we're less likely to get multiples done - if indeed we bother at all. It would be better for the guest to sign - for example - five items for £30-40 than signing just one (if that) for £15.

It would be really nice if Memorabilia could differentiate itself from other shows in this respect.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Mr Beaver on Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:23 pm

The thing is the market value for the autograph, in most cases is faaaaaaaar less than the price you’re charging. In fact at a recent show, one dealer had a box with many of the familiar Memorabilia faces in it for 2.50-5.00.

Another point is, in America the prices are also much lower. If they can do it, why can’t we?

Both of these points are valid in the debate, so please don’t delete them.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Admin-2 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:36 pm

Firstly as someone who visits USA shows all the time the price of autographs is in most cases higher at US shows.

As to autographs you can buy from dealers YES they can be low, this is the state of the autograph market place. The UK and USA to a smaller degree has been over fished by way to many events with way to many autograph guests. This has left people with way to many people to meet and get autos from and over recent years it has deflated the value of meeting and getting autographs from actors, presenters, sport people etc....

Dealers prices have dropped due to the over supply of autographs, many coming from event promoters who have in some cases been left with 500 signed photos as part of a deal and then dumping them via auto dealers or ebay.

I seen one example of a Stargate actor who was £20 at a show and a month later the promoter was selling the over stock at £1.79 each on ebay.

So there is no real answer other than having less guests attend events the whole thing is well over fished.

Memorabilia has suffered from the same issue and I can assure you that this is changing.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby mcgill on Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:31 pm

Thanks for the comments/reasoning etc.

I'll go back to my original statement about why deals for multiple items can no longer be done. More often than not we as the punters are not allowed to directly approach the artiste in question - the money having been handed over to the "minder" before we are allowed to speak to the guest.

This is where part of the problem lies. I think the guests would be more than happy to make deals if they themselves were in control. They would probably generate more income. Yes, they may have to sign more autographs at a lower value, but people like me would be willing to buy more autographs.

Setting an arbitrary lower limit of thirty items before a "deal" can be done is silly. Only the dealers will benefit from this. The ordinary fans in most cases wont.

I think the pricing structure needs to be looked at carefully. Some individuals were clearly over-charging (probably because the agent over-priced the individuals). This is why (as I mentioned) at least one individual was overheard to query why things were so quiet and nobody was getting her autograph.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Mr Beaver on Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:05 pm

Admin-2 wrote:So there is no real answer other than having less guests attend events the whole thing is well over fished.


I feel differently, and wonder if [and I truly mean this constructively] a policy of being more ‘fan friendly’ is just needed to be installed.

A point highlighted by the recent incredible ‘Alan Flyng’ fiasco. There appears to be some ‘signers’ who are beginning to take fans and their position for granted.

Maybe we could install a policy that all English based background actors be £10 [or less :wink: ].

I know generally they are, and I congratulate you for this – but some weren’t at the last show.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby World Of Stuff on Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:50 pm

Here's another angle - the guests charge more now because they can't spot the fans from the scalpers. They charge more so scalpers can't make a packet on their name on the secondary market. They (sports stars excluded) charge the same for a kid to get a grainy 10 x 8 personalised "To Jimmy" as they do for a forty year old man to get a vintage poster signed. I was actually told by a "Star Wars Legend" that he should charge me more to get my vintage items signed - is this the way forward????

Seems so given the high prices for sports stars to sign "premium items" like shirts or gloves. I remember getting my original Umbro Aston Villa 1980/81 shirt signed at Memorabilia by Dennis Mortimer, Gary Shaw and Colin Gibson. They were charging £4 each but said "call it a tenner" - this is the crux of the thread, the death of yet another era that was obviously very close to the hearts of all Memorabilia attendees, and the birth of yet another soulless corporate monster......

Also, well done Mr Beaver for getting a comment on here for more than ten minutes!!!
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Admin on Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:32 pm

How do we implement a £10 ploicy when it is up to the guest in question what they charge or in most cases their agent.

As before we have no real presence when it comes to costings all we can do is put our points forward and hope that some will go with it, some do and some do not.

So to be honest the price they charge I would imagine will stay as that is a way that they earn a living also and the fact they can get the amount they want at another event so will attend that rather than our events which will affect the attendees to our shows so it is a vicious circle I am afraid.

If this was a Utopian world then I am sure yo would get what you want but as it is not I can't see it happening

I have never heard of Alan Flyng so can not comment.

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Mr Beaver wrote:
Admin-2 wrote:So there is no real answer other than having less guests attend events the whole thing is well over fished.


I feel differently, and wonder if [and I truly mean this constructively] a policy of being more ‘fan friendly’ is just needed to be installed.

A point highlighted by the recent incredible ‘Alan Flyng’ fiasco. There appears to be some ‘signers’ who are beginning to take fans and their position for granted.

Maybe we could install a policy that all English based background actors be £10 [or less :wink: ].

I know generally they are, and I congratulate you for this – but some weren’t at the last show.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Admin on Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:45 pm

Again what would you have us do, tell the guest not to charge what they feel is the right price for their signature, what right do we have to do this or even you?

Many guests make a living from selling their autographs now, it would be like asking you to take a pay cut because someone did not feel you deserved your current rate, how would you fell about that?

There are many autograph sellers who do send kids to get an autograph from a guest in the hope that they will get it cheaper, this has been going on for years and many of the guests and agents are wise to this which will of course make it harder for the fan to get what they want at the cost they want.

Regardless of whether you got certain items signed by footballers in the past does not mean that is the case now, the market has now changed some feel for the better and others as yourself do not.

It is not limited to Memorabilia when it comes to autograph pricing it is across the board so it is very unfair to pigeon hole this event, how does that make the event 'another soulless corporate monster' ?

On the Mr Beaver comment we allow him to post when his says something constructive whch more often than not is not, so patting him on the back really seems out of place.

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World Of Stuff wrote:Here's another angle - the guests charge more now because they can't spot the fans from the scalpers. They charge more so scalpers can't make a packet on their name on the secondary market. They (sports stars excluded) charge the same for a kid to get a grainy 10 x 8 personalised "To Jimmy" as they do for a forty year old man to get a vintage poster signed. I was actually told by a "Star Wars Legend" that he should charge me more to get my vintage items signed - is this the way forward????

Seems so given the high prices for sports stars to sign "premium items" like shirts or gloves. I remember getting my original Umbro Aston Villa 1980/81 shirt signed at Memorabilia by Dennis Mortimer, Gary Shaw and Colin Gibson. They were charging £4 each but said "call it a tenner" - this is the crux of the thread, the death of yet another era that was obviously very close to the hearts of all Memorabilia attendees, and the birth of yet another soulless corporate monster......

Also, well done Mr Beaver for getting a comment on here for more than ten minutes!!!
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Mr Beaver on Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:54 pm

*** Edited as per Admin rules relating to Mr Beaver ****

My point is simply, why don’t you insist that English based background actors are a set price? [as what’s happened in the example given?].

Surly it would be better if their intention is just to rip fans off, that no deal is done?
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby JayTee on Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:22 pm

As is my understanding of behind the scenes stuff from various shows guests will usually inform organisers of however much they are charging before the event takes place per autograph.

Depending on the size of the show will usually depend on the price of the signature for example a small show in Newcastle may have guests from Star Wars signing personal items for cheaper prices and all autographs on photos are usually £10 minimum as average cost price is about £3 per photo for them to get printed anyways.

With sports guests I feel it has just become an overinflated market of online traders and there has been a fair bit of negative publicity around it all these past 12 months in the public eye. I know there was one court case on the tv about a guy who had a huge memorabilia shop in the North West and was prosecuted by the courts for selling them at huge prices for fakes! Which is even worse.

With regards to that whole "Flyng" debate on another forum I have heard them announce people previously who have had to sign up to their forum stating they were not attending a certain show etc and then everyone started attacking the guest instead? Crazy. Strange culture to have there that is which is why I don't go to many shows anymore.

I do prefer the NEC show as an event itself but I do think they need to get more modern guests - not get rid of old school stuff totally but dont have a weekend full of guests such as old rehased Bond guests, Carry On and Thunderbirds crew (as much as I love FAB). Whether it was down to guest availability I just dont know but theres plenty of people out there to get.

To be honest I think it's past the point now where guests will charge less than £10 per autograph but we do still get them cheap compared to other countries, I know Carrie Fisher has upped her price in the States by around £20+ to what she was charging here last time she was over. Global economy hitting the Skywalkers hard I see.

Anyways just my thoughts :wink:
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Admin-2 on Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:18 am

I really wish we had an answer that fits everyone but there are so many factors that affect how much an actor wants to charge for an autograph and how much a fan is willing to pay.

The country the person comes from is not a vaild way to set a price, so just because they are English they should charge £10? Patrick Stewart was £30 at a show? If Billy Piper was to sign would she be £10? Would Ian McKellen? What if they are french?

Mark Hamill was over in the UK and was £80, a crazy price but people got in line and paid it.

A lot of the time it is because a promoter has agreed to pay the actor too much as a fee and to generate a return charges the fans more for the autograph, who is at fault? the actor for asking to much money or the promoter who agrees to pay it?

I would point out that in most cases we Memorabilia are not responsible for the guests they are mainly brought to the show by agents.

On the more modern guests this is again what some people want but then there are others who came to Memorabilia just for Carry On guests.

Memorabilia started as a collectors show and still has a solid following who like older movies, tv, comics etc........ We have the difficult task of finding a balance, I agree it's not yet right but we hope we can find it. We are mindful of pricing of autographs but in most cases we can only advise.

We as MCM Expo Group are running a very successful business attendance numbers across all our shows are up, I feel that it's because we offer more than just autographs.

Lastly I really feel this subject is one that could go on and on as there is no answer that fits all, we simply do not have the time to keep coming back to it. We as you can see are reading comments and we will were possible make changes.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Mr Beaver on Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:02 am

I think you’ve been a little unfair about who you selected as examples. I don’t think anybody’s complaining that there shouldn’t be a premium price for quality guests, or guests who have come from aboard.

We’re primarily talking about the ‘background’ actors, who live in England.

*** Edited as not relavant to this forum ***
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Admin-2 on Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:22 am

Again it's the same answers, who is to say who is important or quality as a guest. It is so subjective.

Are they background? do they have a line?, do they have 2 lines?, have they more than one scene?

There is no formula.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Mr Beaver on Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:47 am

Admin-2 wrote:Are they background? do they have a line?, do they have 2 lines?, have they more than one scene?.


*** Edited as not relevant to this forum ***

*** Edited again as not relevant to this forum ***

**You need to direct your energy elsewhere as an answer any answer is never going to be sufficent**. Admin-2
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby Mr Beaver on Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:47 pm

*** Edited as per forum rules that apply to Mr Beaver ***
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby World Of Stuff on Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:24 pm

Admin wrote:It is not limited to Memorabilia when it comes to autograph pricing it is across the board so it is very unfair to pigeon hole this event, how does that make the event 'another soulless corporate monster' ?

On the Mr Beaver comment we allow him to post when his says something constructive whch more often than not is not, so patting him on the back really seems out of place.

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Pigeon hole this event? But I can't mention any other event as per forum rules!!! This is happening across the country - we know this. What makes these events now soulless? No posed photos, cattle market style barriers, £25 for about five seconds with a celebrity. All the people who have posted intelligently on this thread are fans of these events but, when they see what their beloved events are in danger of becoming, they have posted sensible argument on the official forum. What's wrong with that? Pointless having a forum if you only allow posts from tweens telling everyone that they will be attending a show dressed as <insert generic Manga character here >

Patting Mr Beaver on the back? I may totally disagree with his comments but I can't read them!!!

I understand where the organisers are coming from. They have no control over the prices that guests charge to sign autographs. They simply want more people through the door. Hence no signing prices on advertisements. Hence the face painting. Get the families in - sell more tickets. But the kids are not gonna spend 500 quid on memorabila are they? Dealers disappear, old school attendees disappear and you are left with a family fun day full of z-list wrestling, robot wars and spinning plates. Oh, mustn't forget the tweens in costume offering free hugs.
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Re: My view of the show - from a long-time attendee

Postby pacresta on Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:51 pm

World Of Stuff wrote:What makes these events now soulless? No posed photos, cattle market style barriers, £25 for about five seconds with a celebrity


Well said, The no posed photos have always been a major annoyance to me, (and I imagine a few others).I mean £25.00 is a lot of money to people and a few seconds for that amount of money is a bit much. OK the argument is "well you are buying an autograph so what is your problem", but it is also the experience of meeting the person that is also savioured.

This is not a slur upon Jack Coleman (I personally think he is a top bloke), I am using him purely as an example. So he had the cattle market barriers, £20 for a signature and the no posed photos sign. Now apart from Heros, Kingdom Hospital and dynasty his Filmography is not that spectacular, steady, but not spectacular, much like Eliza Dushku when she was at an earlier show. So we had the "get them in, get the money of the paying public and then they can clear off" attitude.

But we have also seen Anthony Daniels and George Romero at the show. Now these admittedly had the barriers, which really is the only way for long queue guests. But both, who were popular had no problem with posed photos, and the time spent with them was ar longer than the time it takes to sign a 10x8.

So is it the organisers or the guest who decides upon how the public should be treated?
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