News

30 May 2014

Sydney’s trade show challenge

Sydney has led the country with tradeshows for the sound, light, vision and broadcast biz, as home to ENTECH, SMPTE and INTEGRATE. This trio of expensive large format trade shows have traditionally been held at Darling Harbour, which is now a demolition zone ahead of an eventual new complex in three years.

Without a dress circle venue, Trade Show organisers have been forced to secondary venues and already we’ve seen SMPTE 2015 forced to move from the temporary and tent-like Glebe Island venue across to the smaller Moore Park facility which first hosted INTEGRATE.

Now INTEGRATE is set to test the Showgrounds venue at Olympic Park, 16km from the CBD. This is the first industry show at that venue since this writer ran ENTECH 2000 there – a move that was not popular with anyone, despite the impending Olympics and the chance to see the brand new venues.

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So it shocked many when CX-TV NEWS revealed yesterday that the organisers of INTEGRATE, trade show goliath Diversified Communications Australia, have imposed a $25 ticket charge to enter the trade show. This is a first for an Australian Trade Show in our industry, although it is common overseas. We note the next Diversified show, The $25 entry charge is waived if you pre-register, so CX would encourage anyone thinking of attending to do just that, here.

It appears Diversified are rolling this out across their many trade shows. Security Expo next week in Melbourne is still free, but Designex in Sydney this week, closing today, also costs $25. This actually stopped me from attending today!

The move is either insane or arrogant, or both – given that the exhibitors who’ve ponied up over $1 million to be there, appear to be in the dark. CX polled a selection of INTEGRATE exhibitors yesterday, and they were shocked at the move. ‘The attendance was already looking dubious because of the venue’, one said. ‘We strongly oppose this’, said another. They decline to be identified as they are worried that the company will make things hard for them. It is strange that strong confident business owners would be cowed by a supplier, but wait – some of these trade show firms have form, and have mastered the art of customer management. Such is the state of play with trade show firms, which seem hellbent in some cases at brow beating and belittling their customers – the exhibitors.

CX has marveled at the breath-taking antics of the SMPTE mob, for example, who decided to impose an additional show onto their market, in the form of The Australian Sportscasting Conference & Expo – scheduled for October this year (2014). CX can now reveal the ensuing outcry saw the SMPTE show organiser, Expertise Events, threaten legal action against ACETA and its president.

That a trade show organiser should threaten legal action against a peak industry body made up of many of its customers beggars belief. We highly doubt the Sportscasting event will occur in its originally proposed form, which had $400,000 worth of exhibition space on sale.

But back to INTEGRATE and the forthcoming show at Olympic Park (26 – 28 August, 2014). ENTECH paid for and relied on a fleet of charter buses from the CBD when we ran our event there, and we still only just made it with satisfactory attendance. INTEGRATE are not talking to us. We don’t know, but also don’t see evidence, whether they will provide free buses to the site. Nothing has changed out there since 2000 in terms of transport – it is still a shuttle train from Lidcombe, or an expensive park and a long walk provided there are no public events at the same time, in which case good luck.

As for the $25 entry fee? It’s just a profit grab, and if you’d like some entertainment just stand around the registration counters each morning and listen as angry trade visitors punk out at the poor registration staff.

It will be ugly.

DISCLOSURE: Juliusmedia Group operate a touring trade show called CX Roadshow.

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