A view on other industries from the TV industry perspective (Photo: mipcom)
Of course, also trade shows are disrupted by digital, regardless of the non-existing threat on their existence. They need to adopt to new ways their clients interact. And again: the media (or internet) industry provides a blueprint for many other industries. The reason is that media is content, and content is data. Home of data is the internet; therefore, it was the first industry to be disrupted.
That’s enough reason looking at the media industries’ accumulated expertise in the field of digitalization. As mentioned in my previous post, I visit quite a few congresses and trade shows every year. And they did change in recent years – with increasing speed! If a reason should be named – it’s driven by the rise of the mobile and tablet.
In the past, to present audiovisual content you needed a screen, usually a TV set or a professional monitor. Till far into the 1990th these were big and heavy devices that needed to be properly installed. Therefore, you needed your own space – either your own stand or you joint screening time with others in screening booths provided by the trade show organizer. This is long over: Suddenly, you could have your stuff on your laptop, later also your tablet and the hard disks, and again later the wifi or sometimes the G4 connection became big and fast enough to have even complex video content ready where and whenever you had the chance to talk to anybody.
For the miptv and mipcom market in Cannes consequences were immense. A trade show week at the Côte d’Azur is expensive and quite a share goes into the organizer’s cash boxes. People started by avoiding purchase of badges for the exhibition space in the Palais de Festivals with subsequent increases in traffic in the hotel lobbies and bars. That’s a phenomenon also known by other trade show organizers: A booming market place with a declining market. miptv and mipcom reacted with restrictions. During market hours you are only allowed in the bars or to sit in the lobbies of the big hotels if you either have a room in the hotel or can present a market batch!
It is doubtful that this sustainably solves the problem. It is only more pampering for the business of the cafés and restaurants around. However, it’s not so much a problem for mipcom in fall than for miptv in spring. For long the question has been raised if two markets per year, doing pretty much the same, are not too many. The big US players solved the problem by deciding to focus on the fall event. Consequently, the spring event has become much less global and many other participants also consider focusing solely on the fall show. The result is a slow but increasing decline of participation figures.
This is part of digitization driven globalization: Increasing competition since it is easier to establish competing platforms either online or in the real world that are adopting new ways and trends very quickly. Established players with their learned business models tend to be too slow for this pace. Also, miptv struggles to find its new purpose. This spring, for the first time, there will be “Cannesseries”, a public TV fiction series festival along with it. It remains to be seen if this will play the trick. Thousands of TV fans coming into town to get close to their famous stars are good for the region’s tourism but not for TV business executives that try to get to their next meeting that’s scheduled in a hotel on the opposite side of the beach boulevard La Croisette. On the other hand, the film festival a month later tackles this scenario successfully for many years.
Well, the glamor factor that may work for the TV industry can’t be applied to other industries. However, the problems are pretty much the same and solutions usually must follow a similar road.