|Issue: March 1, 2009
THE CHANGING FACE OF TRADE SHOWS
By: Randi Altman
|With NAB only one month away, things are getting interesting. While Avid is back at the South Hall with a booth after sitting out 2008, other companies have decided against exhibiting in 2009 — Quantel, Filmlight and Red among them. While attendance is expected to be down, so are the room rates, giving some a compelling reason to make the trip, even in this economy.
So what's the reason for this trend? Most likely twofold: the economy and the ability to reach users in other ways. But we've heard from some pros that there really is no replacement for being there live. "With so many blogs and Websites, someone can get details on new products, but the magic of NAB is the opportunity to meet key individuals from these companies, ask questions, make new contacts and build upon relationships," reports Mark Pederson, founder of NYC's Offhollywood. "Offhollywood could not do what it does without attending the NAB and IBC trade shows."
Pederson believes trade shows will have to alter their models to keep participants as more companies consider the best way to reach their customers. "It's not like Apple has an issue affording trade shows, it's that they feel they can reach customers in more effective ways. For small companies, the show can be a huge distraction and a drain on staff resources in addition to a big expense. I think we will see more companies doing private events outside and around trade shows like NAB. I also have a funny feeling we might see a big surprise from Red during the show... even though they are 'not' attending."
Autodesk is back again this year, "NAB is a unique opportunity to meet with customers and partners from all over the world face-to-face. NAB is also important as a community event, and we stream the content via the AREA (www.the-area.com), so even those who cannot attend can participate," says Maurice Patel, Autodesk's entertainment industry manager. "Obviously, the current economic environment is causing us to take a long, hard look at where we invest, however, we are also in the fortunate position of still being able to invest in key initiatives that help us continue to build relationships with our customers and develop our business. So while we will be reducing our expenditure at the show, we still believe that the event is a valuable means of ensuring we stay in touch with our clients and the latest developments in the industry."
And why did Avid come back in a year that many are taking off? "We felt we were able to have some great conversations with existing customers in Las Vegas last year," says CEO Gary Greenfield, "but having a presence on the show floor enables us to attract a greater number of prospects and folks who may not be as familiar with Avid."
So, see you there?