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Nexpo 2001: A Spacious Odyssey

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Nexpo 2001: A Spacious Odyssey

Article excerpt

Attendance sinks with industry mood

"It's about $16,000 a lead."

That was one vendor's rough calculation of the cost of showing at Nexpo, a figure matched within minutes by a second vendor.

In Nexpos past, the last day saw very little traffic. At Nexpo 2001, held here last week, every day looked like the last day. All aisles were wide-open spaces.

This year also saw other industry shows and conferences cancelled. So, given the economic downturn, weak turnout at the Newspaper Association of America's annual technology trade show was hardly a surprise. Even one of the biggest vendor names was absent.

Atex Media Solutions did not exhibit, although it had a modest presence in March at America East in Hershey, Pa. In contrast, Unisys was at Nexpo, but not America East. And Atex's bigger rival, CCI Europe, was at both shows -- its first time at America East and its biggest booth at Nexpo. Others at Nexpo had smaller booths than usual. At least one booth seemed never staffed.

Nearly absent were several very big buyers. Gannett Co. Inc. sent all of three people: Production Vice President Mark Mikolajczyk and Imaging Integration Director Bernie Szachara (both on workshop panels) and, from Phoenix, The Arizona Republic Production Vice President Bob Kotwasinski (also attending an International Newspaper Group board meeting).

Mike Schroeder, editorial technology and information services director of Newsday, Melville, N.Y., goes every year, but was aware of no other Tribune Co. employees at Nexpo. "I think it came down to who could cover the most bases," he said after his first day of "looking at advertising systems, some Web stuff, and prepress, too." For himself, he sought "mainly cost-cutting systems" and a chance to find most U.S. and Italian Unisys personnel in one place.

Freedom Communications Inc. cancelled its annual meeting of production managers, typically held at Nexpo, because the economy kept many at home, said Director of Corporate Communications Mike Lednovich. While some went to address local needs or work on industry committees, Freedom Community Newspapers Division President Jon Segal said, "I suspect that we won't have a whole lot of people there. …

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