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Photokina is dead


Andrew Reid

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photokina.jpg

End of an era!

The historic photographic industry exhibition Photokina is over. Management blame the decline of the camera industry, and couldn’t even organise a show for 2022 (by which time it is expected the pandemic will be under control).

This news is extremely sad, and hardly satisfactory that the camera companies and Photokina management couldn’t work something out.

Here’s what the exhibition space CEO had to say on the situation:

https://www.eoshd.com/news/photokina-show-terminated-after-70-years/

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This reminds me on the fumy article on Nikon, I mean the day that Nikon will die, the likes of Panasonic, Sony, Fuji will already have died and the camera industry dead. Yes Nikon is not in the best of shapes, but so is everyone, more so the likes of Panasonic and fuji which have 4 to 5X less camera market. Sony itself is selling a fifth of camera it sold in 2010 even if it has 2x to 3x market share. All these will have quit long before Nikon.

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I love trade shows because it provides a timeline for companies to announce, ship, and demonstrate products.

I love trade show because I can meet the engineers behind products and often the owners of small companies and start or reinforce business relationships.

I love trade shows because it is a time to network and gather with industry friends old and new.

I love trade shows because anyone can blog about a cool new product that I might not otherwise be aware of.

Large companies hate trade shows because they are an expensive budget line items that do not provide as much of a return on investment as compared to other marking activities.

Large companies hate trade shows because they do not always naturally align with product cycles, which cause inefficiency in product realization, release schedules and product marketing or worse it may mean there is nothing new to show or announce.

Large companies hate trade shows because they have a buy a booth that is large enough to compare with their competitors who also have to have to spend lot on a large booth to look equally well established and successful and also they have to sponsors different trade show related events, signage, panels, mixers etc. even more ways to get even more money from large companies who don't necessary want to be there in the first place.

Small startup companies love trade shows because they can release/show a new product and make as much noise as a large company for a fraction of the cost.

I understand why, if all of the large companies of an industry get together and collectively decide that they are not going to be the anchor tenets of a specific trade show, that they were, for many years forced to attend/sponsor and now they have an excuse (COVID) not to attend/sponsor and don't want to commit to attend in the future, why some of the trade shows I love and they hate are going to go away.

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Yes, that's a good summary of the situation there

Time was, when a trade show was advantageous for publicity and a useful place to make deals, meet distributors, network. Apparently all that is online now too.

Solution...turn off the fucking internet.

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Sad news indeed.

The problem is that with floor space at €400 per square metre before you've so much as put a piece of carpet down let alone build it out and staff it then spending €100 a pop on DHL to round trip a loan unit to thirty YouTubers that are hungry for gear to review is a no brainer for them.

As most products are lucky to have a buzz that lasts beyond two weeks of initial excitement anyway then doing it this way lets manufacturers own these short periods rather than having to share them with every other new product launch as they would at an exhibition.

UK visitors to European exhibitions also make up quite a sizeable portion of the overall attendance (15% at IBC for example, second only to the 18% of the host country) and that is about to get far more complicated after 1st of January.

The days of popping over to Amsterdam or Cologne on EasyJet and waltzing through immigration and being at the RAI or Messe 45 minutes later with your grubby paws on new cameras will sadly be a thing of the past as you'll need a visa to get in to the country in the first place and a work visa if its a trade show.

 

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Sad but not terribly unexpected. Companies can just send their products to a bunch of shills that will all create glowing videos praising it and not have to deal with pesky independent journalists and professionals that will ask questions they don't want asked for articles they don't want written. 

Co-opted media and unscrupulous YouTubers are a lot more appealing to these companies. They don't even have to fly those types out to exotic locations anymore, those folks will do it simply because they're sycophants. 

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Not a trade show fan. That said, in my neck of the woods, it comes down to having reps that know ZERO about the product.

On the rare occassion the booth is manned by a product manager or engineer... yeah, trade shows are totally worth it. You get real answers and your feedback is often used in firmware updates and possibly future products.

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4 hours ago, SteveV4D said:

Another loss down to a changing industry.. If the future is Youtube blogs and reviews, then given the dismal and biased collection I saw this year for new cameras, I hope camera manufacturers seek other means to advertise their new cameras.  

I’m not sure what that would be. Sony literally passed around a few demo units of the A7SIII to select YouTubers to share. They didn’t pay them anything (as claimed by the youtubers themselves) and they hyped, reviewed, and showed their product off for essential pennies on the dollar in marketing terms. I can only see this trend accelerating.

Most of it is pure fluff to fill a 10 minute video for the ad revenue, which’s is how they are really being paid by being given exclusive access to a product of value and such exclusive rights to the ad revenue for the searches for the new item. Which is a paid review in my humble and reasonable opinion and kinda of a loop hole around the laws.

Not to mention they are given free gear from companies hoping for it to be talked about. Do they pay taxes? Are these gifts? We have all seen it.

No interviews with engineers, short documentaries about the product design and manufacturing, no extra or in depth information from anything except someone reading from the press release spec sheet.

Love them or hate them, at least CineD does do occasional documentaries on a company, like their sigma factory tour which was very enjoyable!

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19 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Yes, that's a good summary of the situation there

Time was, when a trade show was advantageous for publicity and a useful place to make deals, meet distributors, network. Apparently all that is online now too.

Solution...turn off the fucking internet.

The internet...also the killer of movie theaters...

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This is silly.  My country will spend 11 millions this year on a Web Summit ...online. And the brand (!) Photokina will simply vanish?! Why? Is photography dying and I haven't noticed yet? Or the DSLR/mirrorless industry for Christ's sake?

Does it make any sense? : (

On the other hand, smartphone manufacturers celebrate computational photography...

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Imho, killing the show is short sighted. It needs to return to its roots, as a venue for industry professionals to strut their stuff and to build relationships. Trade shows originally arose to help industry,

They gradually morphed to become marketing events for the consumer. Now the consumer is online and feels she does not need the show any more.

Sadly the prospects for a near term return are poor, falling sales and travel restrictions make it easy for the bean counters to strike the Photokina budget. The downside to these short sighted decisions will become apparent later, a less flexible, less responsive, less innovative industry.  Dumb, dumb, dumb, imho.

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1 hour ago, etudiant said:

Imho, killing the show is short sighted. It needs to return to its roots, as a venue for industry professionals to strut their stuff and to build relationships. Trade shows originally arose to help industry,

They gradually morphed to become marketing events for the consumer. Now the consumer is online and feels she does not need the show any more.

Sadly the prospects for a near term return are poor, falling sales and travel restrictions make it easy for the bean counters to strike the Photokina budget. The downside to these short sighted decisions will become apparent later, a less flexible, less responsive, less innovative industry.  Dumb, dumb, dumb, imho.

Yeah. I agree

The Photokina management have a lot to answer for.

Just because it is not quite the corporate cash cow it once was...

Also the camera companies should have saved it. Or at least put on some alternative of some kind.

It's early days yet... Maybe we can get the industry professionals meet-up on similar scale going in another part of the world. Like all the great cine shows in the US. If not short term due to corona, then certainly by 2022.

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On 11/27/2020 at 11:22 PM, BTM_Pix said:

Sad news indeed.

The problem is that with floor space at €400 per square metre before you've so much as put a piece of carpet down let alone build it out and staff it then spending €100 a pop on DHL to round trip a loan unit to thirty YouTubers that are hungry for gear to review is a no brainer for them.

As most products are lucky to have a buzz that lasts beyond two weeks of initial excitement anyway then doing it this way lets manufacturers own these short periods rather than having to share them with every other new product launch as they would at an exhibition.

UK visitors to European exhibitions also make up quite a sizeable portion of the overall attendance (15% at IBC for example, second only to the 18% of the host country) and that is about to get far more complicated after 1st of January.

The days of popping over to Amsterdam or Cologne on EasyJet and waltzing through immigration and being at the RAI or Messe 45 minutes later with your grubby paws on new cameras will sadly be a thing of the past as you'll need a visa to get in to the country in the first place and a work visa if its a trade show.

 

When you do shows in the USA the crazy union racketeering is amazing too. Like charging you thousands of dollars to move a pallet of stuff 100ft, or $200 to hire a $20 chair for three days, or demanding that a union registered man stand next to you at a charge of $1000/hr if you want to film something (at one particular show).

It's a phenomenally corrupt business the trade show shebang. The people make it fun, everything else around it is s chore.

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19 minutes ago, jgharding said:

When you do shows in the USA the crazy union racketeering is amazing too. Like charging you thousands of dollars to move a pallet of stuff 100ft, or $200 to hire a $20 chair for three days, or demanding that a union registered man stand next to you at a charge of $1000/hr if you want to film something (at one particular show).

It's a phenomenally corrupt business the trade show shebang. The people make it fun, everything else around it is s chore.

NAB was always the worst of the ones that I used to do over there.

I'd always be the one arriving on the setup day with a prototype module that we hadn't been able to ship in time from the UK or spare parts and unless I could conceal it about my person then I had to hand it over to have it delivered to the stand by "official" methods. 

This once resulted in two grown men having to transport a 1U rack module (consisting of one small PCB and mainly fresh air) that I had been relieved of at the entrance three hours previously.  I'll never forget the sight of the pair of them carrying this 2kg object on to our stand holding one end each without batting an eyelid at the absurdity of it.

Having said that, the advantage of not being able to move anything bigger than a jack plug yourself was that, unlike European shows where we all had to get involved in humping the consoles in and out of crates and positioning them, we could quite happily wash our hands of it and just let them get on with it!

 

 

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At an NAB I was working at a union worker threatened to knock one of my co-workers off a ladder because they were attempting to change a light bulb.  They were told it was “union work” - probably considered it “electrical”.  My co-work let them change the light bulb.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed going to NAB.  Got to see the raw output of a Genesis camera and asked why is the output so green and was told that’s what the sensor sees.  I thought that doesn’t look so great - who’s gonna buy that - even if they are shooting a model a motorcycle - probably before monitors had built-in outs.  Got to see Red launch the Red One after following it for months in HDforindies.com.  Got to meet Rupert Neve at an AES one year and as an audio nerd that was a highlight.

At the hight of the dot com boom the parties were crazy. Herbie Hancock playing jazz on a piano in the lounge of the Strat hotel over looking Vegas for private party for 30 people.  All night open bar and wedding style buffet at the Rocket Nework launch party with BT doing the record release of his album Movement In Still Life album for 300 people in a small LA club.  Black Eyed Peas doing a private concert at Hardrock Cafe for some audio industry folks and having Wil.i.am address the audience and say “I know you’re from company XYZ. But we’re the Black Eyed Peas - cone on, you got to make some noise.” it was a great time to work at and attend trade shows  before the dot com bust.

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