Is PMA’s Move to September 2011 a Good Thing? It’s Las Vegas or Bust.

Over the years, PMA has held one of the industry’s most successful exhibits and tradeshows in the first quarter of the year. Yet, on June 1 the association announced a March date for 2011 it’s all been rescheduled to September. After a series of missteps, unintentional or otherwise, some are wondering if this is a good thing. Some outspoken individuals have expressed doubts about the change believing that it is nothing more than “beating a dead horse.” On the flip side, there is strong support  viewing this as a logical first step towards re-establishing the event to be held in Las Vegas, September 8-10, 2011. Don Franz, internationally respected consultant and publisher of Photo Imaging News, a subscription-based newsletter, recently shared his thoughts on this recent announcement. Pro Photo Home has obtained permission to exclusively publish Franz’s comments here.

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A Look Back at PMA 2010 (Part 4)

by Don Franz

One of the disadvantages of our detailed coverage of various industry events is that the information appears later than in other publications. One benefit is the greater coverage we provide.

As we continue our coverage of PMA 2010, we were surprised by the recent announcement that the PMA 2011 International Convention and Trade Show will be held September 8-10, 2011, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, Las Vegas. We received this announcement while we were traveling in Germany, and we had a meeting the following day with the Koelnmesse team for preliminary discussions of the 2011 Memories are more.. conference, scheduled from May 19-20 at the Congress Center North, Cologne Fairgrounds.

The new PMA dates are understandable, considering the original February 1-3 2011 schedule placed it only 3 weeks after CES, two weeks after ImagingUSA and two weeks before WPPI – with CES and WPPI both being also held in Las Vegas. And DSCOOP, which attracted more than 1,800 current and potential Indigo users from around the world immediately before PMA 2009, will also be held in February. The CP+ show, held for the first time during 2010 in Yokohama Japan, will serve as a launch venue for many new Japanese cameras since it is supported by CIPA, and is also expected to take place in February 2011. The challenges for exhibitors becomes greater each year as they weigh their commitments to participate in an international tradeshow against Internet marketing and promotion.

Still, the new dates, supported by positive statements from several industry mentors, raise numerous concerns. Since these dates are at the beginning of the school year, how will the PSPA conference be affected? The PMA release quoted Ken Strawbridge, president, Strawbridge Studios and past president, PMA and PSPA, saying “We are extremely confident PMA will fulfill our conference needs with a PSPA Convention co-locating with SPAA in the first-half of 2011. I respect this decision, and think it will end up proving extremely positive for all segments of the photo imaging industry.” However, based upon our own experiences running “independent” conferences, those organized around a tradeshow attracted greater attendance, and will suppliers support both a separate PSPA/SPAA program and the full PMA, which now may not have the PSPA conference associated with it any more? Will school photographers attend both events?

While 2011 is a non-Photokina year, how will this new “time slot” for PMA be carried into 2012 when Photokina is again scheduled? Will PMA become a biennial tradeshow, alternating with Photokina? How will the 2011 6Sight/AIE conference, expected to be scheduled for November 2011 and sometimes regarded as the successor to Fall PMA, be affected? And PMA Canada, usually scheduled for the 2nd week of September, will no doubt be changed. There are also other shows that might attract potential PMA visitors and exhibitors, such as Graph Expo, usually scheduled for September in non-Photokina years, SGIA in mid-October, Photo Plus at the end of October, and European shows such as Salon de la Photo in France, scheduled for early November this year.

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