Completely agreed that Classics isn't the ideal line for everyone - but it is the only choice we have if we WANT new MOTU. The fanbase doesn't HAVE to buy them, but if they want new MOTU, what is the other option?
First things first - my previous post is a reply to the "line will never make it!" thought that continuously pops up on .org and in comments like the one above. This is one of the first times where the fans actually have a say in the line continuing. If we want MOTUC to continue until 2020, all we need (based on the information we have at hand now) is for the current level of subscribers to continue to want 16 new figures and four "expensive" packs per year. We don't have to think about Walmart saying they don't want another assortment of Dark of the Moon and chopping four "anticipated" figures, meaning a scramble for Japanese stock of the same item long sold out; we can have as much MOTUC as we want. That level of collector interaction is unprecedented. In the last two decades of toy collecting, how many times did we have to let the Skeleton Warriors/Darkstalkers/unproduced items go by because "kids didn't want them"?
The current collector market is a strange thing - really much more segmented than about twenty years back.
We're living in a time when a section of the fanbase can sell out a $200 Christopher Reeve Superman from Hot Toys, while the other end of the fanbase thinks a $30 MOTUC figure is expensive. Online has really evened the playing field on toys. When I look at the days of 199X, I remember McFarlane figures that were so impossible to get in my neighborhood that not even the scalpers had them; seeing the Invisible Woman from Toy Biz in a store - two of them on pegs at the same time! - buying one, and never seeing one at retail again while my friends paid $50 to the scalpy store at the Jersey Shore for one. Things we thought were rare turned out to just be tough to get in our neighborhoods; the whole scale of "worth" shook out in different ways as we were exposed to eBay and online retailers blowing out stock for pennies.
Applying this specifically to MOTUC, we have seen that almost every character can be sold out in a three day time span (I know there were a couple, the most notable example being that Hurricane Hordak needed a reworking, lol). Is there a portion (or portions with specific wants) of the current subscriber base who wants all of NA/POP/200X/other to keep it going once we have Ram Man out of the way?
As part of this segmentation, we deal with the hyperbolic statements of people being cemented in forums everywhere with a casual ten-second thought process involved - my personal favorites being "I'd buy FIVE Gi Joe Tactical Battle Platforms if the re-released them!" as the justification for such an act; "Thundercats would TOTALLY RULE THE AISLES if they brought them back!"; "that figure is an abortion/holocaust/armageddon".
A forum like .org wants to have an argument with TG when he unwisely marginalizes what are probably his most...fervent fans by saying that there are only the infamous "200" active posters over there. They state that there is a massive collector group at .org that buys Classics which surely has to be a massive part of the overall MOTUC customer base, right? It's unknowable, because many people who lurk on their forums don't want to interact with the 200 guys who essentially run the forum by posting in every single thread.
Tying things together, I go back to the original post. You take a reasonable fan like He-Mullet and he thinks he won't get to complete his teams because the line is going to end before that? Why? If he and every other fan who wants those characters continue to subscribe (and the day of sale buyers do their part), there is no reason for the line to stop.
If we find out that the majority of characters beyond this year are all Hurricane Hordaks, so be it. But we'll decide that, not Toys R Us or Walmart. And MOTU will be finished for real this time for at least another five years, if not forever - unless the magical movie finally appears.
I wouldn't hold my breath for it though.
i disagree here that what we're doing on matty collector is unprecedented, or that we have some magical sense of control... we don't. we ultimately decide to buy or not buy, so the retailer side of the business is out of the equation, but come on man... what we had going a decade ago w/ SOTA was FAR more interactive and participatory for the consumer base. mattel decides what to sell, at what price, when they want, and we line up to buy or we don't... how is that any different than what best buy is doing?
SOTA gave us pre-order numbers, so we had to commit to a publicly available number of figs purchased before production began... matty doesn't do that.
SOTA told us exactly who was getting made in a given cycle and often times gave fans the ability to vote for members of the roster beforehand... matty doesn't do either of those things.
SOTA was running largely off the numbers available from online pre-orders, but was also able to move product in B&M stores. so they met online demand, and met casual demand at the same time... without resorting to a price hike by packing in a largely over-produced, market saturated garbage figure. matty doesn't do this.
SOTA was pretty well known for it's well spoken and reasonable online presence. jerry was as honest and straightforward as you could ask a salesman to be. he was never disrespectful, nor dismissive, nor willing to pass the buck... matty doesn't even know this paradigm exists.
SOTA ran a competent web store that shipped promptly and carried items in stock all day, every day... matty doesn't do this.
SOTA did have their issues, eventually, when jerry was pulled out of the lion's position, but even w/ the darkstalkers thing you mentioned, those protos were shown and solicited and the online sign up was available to us to guage exactly how many "i'll buy five of those!" guys there were, and there was flatly not enough interest to make those items. i blame the fanbase for that, for talking a talk that wasn't supported by a walk, but at least we knew what we were buying, at what price, and how many we needed to buy to make production work out for them. that's a lightyear ahead of where matty's business model is w/ motuc. (or DCU... or ghostbusters)
they're asking us to sign up for a locked in, year-in-advance subscription on a line w/ spotty QC, worse customer service, and no idea what we're getting past the first four months. that equation isn't equal in any way, where we and matty are sharing responsibility for the health of the line... this is their prerogative and we're regarded as little more than walking wallets. i for one don't rent a prostitute till i've peeked at the goods.
your suggestion is that i should continue to spend money as if it had no meaning, while filling my home w/ possessions i don't want, in the hope, the illusion
that i will get the two or three items i feel like i do want, and that if i don't, i'm not entitled to get the two or three items i'm looking for. the same arrangement exists in retail, i can keep buying marvel legends till they make that morg figure i really want, but how many thousands of figs and tens of thousands of dollars will i have to spend to do so? so i cherry pick, and i hope that other people in the fanbase like the figs being offered enough to buy those to keep the line going so i can get what i ultimately want, just as they hope that i'll like morg enough to buy one when he comes out, cuz they don't want one. that's how a toyline works. matty's model doesn't change that at all. i refuse to "sub or die" i'm just not handing them my wallet. they certainly haven't earned it thusfar. that doesn't diminish my love for the property, it makes me want the line to tank so someone else can bid for the license. someone who will do things the way i'd like to see them done. if the next guy doesn't do what i'm after, i'm patient, i'll wait till that one dies, and try again. or i'll make customs. or i'll get the mangosteen over myself and move on... but i sit here and play w/ the motu and motuc i have, i write stories about the characters, i play w/ my kids, i buy the DVDs and watch those... i'm a bigger fan than TG is, cuz i want the line to continue without spite for my fellow fans or a need to push my personal agenda on everyone else.
the example you gave
"$200 Christopher Reeve Superman from Hot Toys, while the other end of the fanbase thinks a $30 MOTUC figure is expensive."
is kind of erroneous too, as the toy you get for the money is vastly different. i've paid 30 bucks for a rib eye and savored every bite w/ no regrets, and then dumped two bucks on a sonic chicago dog and cursed my foul luck... because a ribeye and a hot dog are two entirely different things.
to finish this out, on the subject of the motu fanbase... firstly, there are clearly more than 200 guys interacting on the org... 200 guys don't make 10000 hits a day. so yes, there is a huge silent or mostly silent population over there, but the org represents more than 200 customers, regardless of how much fan interaction the board gets. talking starfruit about your customer base, even if it were only 5 guys, is just bad business. word of mouth will kill a product of almost any type very quickly. mattel's product is erratic, sometimes it's great, sometimes it's crap, and that has nothing to do w/ character selection nor is that the fault of the fanbase, whether there's 100000 of us or 10000. i quit buying largely because of that, not because there aren't still characters i'm interested in, but because the characters i was buying were showing serious of fatigue in the construction w/ little to no play time to blame. when i spend thirty bucks, the same 30 i spent on that aforementioned rib eye, i expect at least rib eye level of satisfaction from my purchase. when that doesn't happen, i don't repeat the 30 dollar crap buy. i'm not required to, and it doesn't make any sense for me to ask others to either... i want everyone at least
ribeye happy w/ their 30 dollar purchases. how many folks are there who are willing and able to subscribe? who knows, i don't, and honestly, i don't think mattel has any better idea than i do (or you do) but i'm not conning anyone into a purchase they're less than 100% enthused w/. so like, in motuc, if they expect us to continue to subscribe, they need to:
1) start revealing 100% of the sub figs
2) be upfront w/ a schedule of release and friggin keep it.
3) get their QC in order
4) get their CS in order
5) start providing a sale system that gives me more than 15 minutes to buy, and that considers a 100% sellthrough of stock a success, regardless of the time it takes.
6) stop berating their customers
7) stop blaming the horsemen
by all means, let me know if they do all this, cuz then i'll help y'all out by subscribing. but i'm only 1 fan.