Trade Show Shakeup

By Posnock, Susan Thea | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, October 2001 | Go to article overview

Trade Show Shakeup


Posnock, Susan Thea, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


Major industry events have been scrapped or put off because of the WTC and Pentagon tragedies.

The September terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., have prompted organizers to cancel or postpone numerous trade shows, dampening hopes that the industry might make up for some of its dismal shortfall in advertising revenues with a fourth-quarter surge of expo earnings.

About half of the 75 major trade shows of all kinds that were to have taken place between September II and the first week of October have either been rescheduled or scrapped, according to an estimate from Cahners' Tradeshow Week. Although most are trade association gatherings unrelated to the magazine business, they include a number of big publishers' shows, including Fenton Media's Internet World, VNU's Travel Technology World and Modern Day Marine Military Exposition, and Advanstar's Abilities Expo/New England.

For some companies, the money is critical. The 84 shows Advanstar holds annually around the world account for half its annual revenue. In a conference call September 20, Fenton chairman and CEO Tom Kemp told investors the fourth quarter "was expected to account for more than half of our 2001 cashflow, due primarily to our staging some of our largest trade shows in the quarter." Still, Fenton decided to reschedule Internet World, the company's largest trade show with 330 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees, because of "serious concerns" major customers had about logistics, attendance and security. It will be held December 10-13.

Other publishers have been shuffling schedules, many trying to hold the shows before the end of the year so they can book the revenues this year Advanstar's Abilities Expo/New England, originally scheduled for September 21-23 in Boston, was moved to mid-November. Internet World, scheduled October 1-5 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, will now be held December Io-I3, along with the previously scheduled Streaming Media East. The Fulfillment Management Association moved its annual EMA Day conference from September to June 2002.

For others, the show must go on. The American Magazine Conference is being held as scheduled October 21-24, and The Folio: Show, the annual event sponsored by this magazine, will be held October 29-31 in New York, with a program that organizers say is being expanded to reflect the changed publishing environment that has resulted from the attacks.

Hanley-Wood Exhibitions' two events between the end of September and mid-October are both on as planned. "We've not had attendees calling us and requesting refunds, and we've not had exhibitors call," says Galen Poss, president of exhibitions. "They recognize that the business has to go on. To do anything less than that means they [the terrorists] win." Between 2,500 and 3,000 people were expected at the Custom Home Conference and Exhibition in Baltimore at the end of September.

TRADE SHOW GRIDLOCK

Cygnus is holding two shows in November--the construction equipment show EDX and the Damage Prevention Convention and Exposition--and says interest in both has risen since the attacks. Jeff Price, president of Cygnus Expositions, says the damage show, which focuses on preventing harm to underground infrastructures such as pipes and telephone lines, actually had double the normal amount of registrations in the week of September 11. "It's not something we want to promote per se, because we don't want to take advantage of others' difficult times, but we're seeing spikes in interest in those shows," Price says.

Advanstar, with 21 shows scheduled between now and the end of the year, is talking with customers to determine whether to move certain events, says its CEO Bob Krakoff. …

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