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9,866 and counting...

Numbers aren't everything, especially when it comes to what makes for a good convention. (Though making one's numbers in terms of the budget is vital to a convention's ongoing good health.) But that doesn't stop this information junkie from looking at numbers as well as an abundance of other data about any given convention I'm interested in. And goshwowboyoboy, am I interested in this year's Worldcon.

Loncon 3 has the bestest demographics page ever. It's updated in real time, showing membership and admissions by category and by country. There's also a "Memberships Over Time" chart with monthly totals making it easy to track the growth from the 1,825 members it had after it became a seated Worldcon at Chicon 7.

I've been checking in on the page every so often, right up until the end of July when the total membership was 9,479 (including a throughly-croggling 2,893 supporting members). Now I'm checking it several times a day, watching as it becomes more and more likely that total membership will top 10,000 before the Worldcon opens on Thursday. If not before, that day for sure, but before seems the most likely outcome at this point. Since August 1st, Loncon 3 has sold 134 attending memberships and 255 day admissions and hall passes. (Two of those attending memberships are upgrades from supporting, which just goes to show how much of a data geek I can be.)

In other numbers-driving Loncon 3 news, the convention received a record-breaking 3,587 valid ballots for the Hugo Awards. This is 71% higher than the previous record of 2,100 ballots set at Renovation in 2011. The percentage of eligible voters looks to be up a bit from Renovation; compared to total membership numbers, 34% of Renovation's members voted. At Loncon 3, at the end of July it was 38%. There's arm-waving to go with these numbers; it's nearly 41% of Loncon 3's eligible voters but I can't determine how many of Renovation's total members were eligible to vote. (Day admissions don't have voting rights nor do any memberships sold after Hugo voting closes in terms of Hugo participation.)

There were 1,307 valid ballots for the Retro Hugos.

Loncon 3 plans to stream both the Hugo and Retro Hugo Awards ceremonies live on Ustream. The Hugo cermony will also have text-based coverage via CoverItLive on the Hugo Awards website.

Seeing as my lottery tickets came up zip for zip, I plan to watch both ceremonies online Thursday and Sunday nights while also read the CoverItLive text come Sunday. It's far from the first Worldcon I've enjoyed from a distance and it's unlikely to be my last. But it certainly looks like it will be the largest.

I hope everyone already in London and those traveling there in the days ahead have a splendid time! I look forward to your posts, tweets, pictures, and more.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
vgqn
Aug. 11th, 2014 12:56 am (UTC)
10,000?! Will that make it the biggest Worldcon to date? I thought 4000-6000 was the typical range.

I think I'll be lucky to run into anyone I know, ever!
kevin_standlee
Aug. 11th, 2014 01:47 am (UTC)
Actually, it already is the largest Worldcon by total number of members of all sorts of all time, surpassing the L.A.con II (1984) total of 9,282. But because it has a hefty number of supporting members, the question on smoffish minds is whether it will top the 1984 record of 8,365 bodies on site.

4-6K is a broadly accurate figure for most recent Worldcons (the last three US Worldcons drew between 4-5K attendees), except there are lots of outliers; the Worldcon Long List has summary numbers: whenever possible, we try to show both the total membership and the number of individuals who attended, which are two of the many different ways of counting "memberships."
drplokta
Aug. 11th, 2014 05:33 am (UTC)
The numbers look something like this. If we assume we sell 100 more day memberships/hall passes and 20 full memberships on the website before the con, then we go into the con with 6,050 full members and 1,050 day members/hall passes. Assuming a 5% no-show rate on the former and 3% on the latter, that gives us 6,766 warm bodies. So to beat L.A.con II's 8,365 we need to sell another 1,600 memberships on the door (or on the website same-day). That number is about in the middle of our projections, so the best we can say at present is that we'll have about the same number of members at the con as L.A.con II did.

Edited at 2014-08-11 05:39 am (UTC)
kevin_standlee
Aug. 11th, 2014 01:51 am (UTC)
We'll see you there (virtually) at CoverItLive. You know, of course, that our CIL coverage is apt to be a fair bit ahead of the video streaming. I think of it as the difference between the radio and television feeds of a sporting event, where the radio is usually close to real time while the television is at least a few seconds behind. So anyone watching both is getting spoilers all the way down the line. But CIL takes a whole lot less bandwidth, and we have a backup internet connection in case the wi-fi in the ExCel Convention Center fails on us, so we have some hope of being a robust connection. I don't speak for Loncon 3, but as I'm sure everyone knows, streaming video is still not as easy as people think it is. But OTOH we've come a long way from 2005, where I was quoted a mid-four-figure number of pounds to stream the Hugo Ceremony and told, "There's no way we can afford it," and I agreed, too. It's not free for Loncon 3, either, but probably not as much as Interaction was quoted. (I have no inside information on this.)
drplokta
Aug. 11th, 2014 06:49 am (UTC)
It's still costing us a four-figure sum (in pounds), but it's now low four-figure not mid four-figure.
kevin_standlee
Aug. 11th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
I'm not surprised; but (a) the cost is less than it was nine years ago in both absolute and relative terms and (b) >2500 supporting members can help offset that cost. If we'd had that many supporters in Glasgow, I would have made a case that we had a duty to provide a way for 25% of our members to watch the ceremony.
minnehaha
Aug. 11th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
I hope all future world cons take note of the things LonCon is doing right and incorporates them in their cons.

K.
drplokta
Aug. 11th, 2014 05:35 am (UTC)
Honestly, a lot of it is simply being in London, and I think only New York would be a comparable draw. The support for the bid was overwhelming, even before we started doing anything right other than choosing the site -- we smashed the previous record for number of Friend of the bid memberships by hundreds of percent.
beamjockey
Aug. 11th, 2014 02:50 am (UTC)
If there is such a brisk trade, you'd think I'd have been able to sell my discounted Loncon membership by now!
quadong
Aug. 11th, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)
Indeed. I finally managed to sell one of our two at *less* than the cost of a *supporting* membership. Either people just aren't looking for transfers, or the brisk trade is almost entirely in non-full-adult memberships.

If you do find a buyer, you might ask them if they need another from me.
gerisullivan
Aug. 13th, 2014 08:20 am (UTC)
It's a karmic rather than financial comfort, but a post on the SMOFs list told me the membership you sold went to a former Worldcon chair whose been enduring hard financial times of late. So there's that, at least.

I'm not on Facebook, so not seeing what the membership transfer traffic is like on the Loncon-linked page for that, but I can't help but wonder how many of the full attending memberships being bought these last couple of weeks are going to newcomers or others who don't know to look for the transfer market. The 172 new attending memberships showing up in the last 12 days include some YA, Children & Infant, and Membership Upgrades from Supporting, but that Adult Attending number has been the one increasing the most. Well, along with the Day Admissions, but the latter are to be expected at this point.

I'm sorry you and your best beloved aren't there. It looks to be amazing.
drplokta
Aug. 11th, 2014 05:27 am (UTC)
It's even close to 10,000 than you think, because the numbers on the website exclude around 50 hall passes that were sold through other channels.
drplokta
Aug. 11th, 2014 05:36 am (UTC)
And as one data geek to another, you don't know that two of the attending memberships were upgrades from supporting. It's possible, for example, that three of them were upgrades and someone bought a new supporting membership.
gerisullivan
Aug. 11th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
True enough.

I'll now do the thoroughly-unfannish thing by commenting that such additional data does not need to be included in future versions of live membership data posted on a convention's website.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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