Tag: seasons

Going Forth from the Fifth

You may have seen Equestria Daily’s Sethisto’s “State of the Fandom” piece back on December 2nd. This will be partially a response to that as well as a look into my own Magic 8 Crystal ball.

Challenge:  There is a charge that the fandom is in decline and one could point to the ratings being off from Season Four. Of course, things that don’t help include the 11-month hiatus, a new name for the channel, the new time slot (an hour later than in Season Four), episodes during the summer and major holidays, and said channel not as hip with their advertising as they were when they were the Hub. It’s still by a distance Discovery Family’s top show. The channel’s real struggle lies in having a sustainable hit to compliment MLP which has not come from either Littlest Pet Shop or Transformers: Rescue Bots (both are ironically set to join the 100-episode club in the future).

Sales of the toys have been off the last two quarters (factoring in foreign exchange) after 14+ quarters of growth. Winning streaks don’t last forever—just ask the Golden State Warriors. Still, it has been more consistent in its performance the last few years compared to Transformers whose performance is strongly correlated with whether or not there’s a movie. The Girls division at Hasbro is expected to get a massive lift when the Disney Princesses and Frozen contracts kick in the New Year. In the toy business, that’s akin to when Fox took over NFL broadcasts from CBS in 1992. We’ll likely see what’s new for MLP in 2016 starting with the February Toy Fair in New York City.

One sign that the fandom might actually be growing is the growth in attendance at conventions. Here are a few examples of that (Source:  Ponycons.com):

Convention
2014
2015
%  Change
Ponycon NYC
569
1,707
200.0%
Midwest Brony Fest
450
673
49.6%
MLP-MSP
1,000
1,022
2.2%
BronyCon
9,607
10,011
4.2%
BABSCon
2,350
2,648
12.7%
Everfree Northwest
2,500
2,767
10.7%
Nightmare Nights Dallas
1,340
1,600
19.4%
Ponyville Ciderfest
829
1,135
36.9%

The My Little Pony Fair, the one officially sponsored by Hasbro, saw record attendance as well near Chicago with over 2,200 in attendance. Equestria LA returned to over 2,000 guests. Further to a point, there are more kids and families than ever before at conventions and a more diverse set than previously. In addition, there will be new conventions in San Diego, Chicago, Nashville, and South Carolina.

It can be said that very few of us expected to get this far with this show and fandom as we are now over five years old. I’m not sure the peak was in 2013 as Sethisto has put it. It might have been during Season Four when viewership and sales were at its highest. Plus, it didn’t hurt making an cameo in a Super Bowl ad and it’s still a curiosity to some in the media. Plus, it’s still apparently a top cartoon show on Netflix (for want of actual numbers on that).

So what of the future? Fans will come and go as they do in every fandom. All that’s known of the future of this show is that there will be a sixth season, a movie on November 3rd, 2017, and a fourth Equestria Girls movie, and the comics continue in two different series. Nothing else official, especially in terms of a possible end, has been stated.

As far as the future beyond the movie, I simply hope that Hasbro realizes that they finally have the six characters to build the franchise of My Little Pony around and they have been doing that with G4. They should be part of any future generation of the franchise much like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron are for each version of Transformers. That was what was really lacking from MLP in previous generations (though some of the ponies in name only existed in previous generations).

It is presumed that Season Six will start up in 2016 and hopefully we will not wait another 11 months (or even more) to see it. Even then it’s not the longest hiatus for a show. Fans of Gravity Falls and The Legend of Korra had to wait even longer between Seasons One and Two (or Books One and Two in the case of the latter). If this run ends after the 2017 movie, so be it. I prefer to continue to enjoy the ride which still very much has a while to go. The future is not as dark as it seems.

StatManDan