Setting The ShowEast Record Straight | Celluloid Junkie

Let’s face it, while mainstream media might be screaming about an economic recovery, times are still tough for many businesses all over the world. That is especially true for trade shows. No matter the industry focus, attendance at global conventions has dropped in 2009 by more than 25% in most cases. Just look at attendance at some of the annual confabs the motion picture industry holds; the Sundance Film Festival down 11%, ShoWest down 15%, NAB down 20%, the Cannes Film Festival down 30% and IBC in Amsterdam down at least 7%. That may be why at ShowEast, which was held in Orlando, Florida from October 26th to October 29th, the talk amongst delegates was as much about the trade show’s attendance as it was about 3-D, digital cinema and the upcoming blockbuster release “Avatar”.

[Editor’s notes: The mainstream media speaks of one or two signs of the recession/depression ending, but in general and in specifics, it seems to cherry-pick stats. For example, while something called the Easily Manipulated Gross National Product has increased for the 1st time in several quarters (signifying growth at last!), unemployment is up, foreclosures are up, etc. And more pertainent to the cinema business, corporate filings from the major exhibitors and industry polls show that the number of patrons is down, and if income is up, it is only up because of the ability to charge more for 3D movies.]

While such conversation tends to feed on itself ultimately making mountains out of mole hills, Robert Sunshine, the Vice President of Nielsen Film Group which organizes the event, readily admits attendance at this year’s ShowEast, like most conventions around the world, was down roughly 20%. “It’s numbers that we don’t like to see,” said Sunshine. “We attribute it to the economy and we also attribute it to the fact that there are lots of [industry] conventions, there’s the major convention, ShoWest, and certain people don’t have the money to attend all of these shows so they are picking and choosing where they go.”

[Editor again: In addition to Andrew’s point: There used to be more differenciation between the different shows as well. ShowEast would have an International Day that grabbed a decent EU crowd and an excellent South American crowd for example. One dosn’t get the feeling of a specialness anymore. Later in the article Andrew talks about the studios making an effort, even if they can’t bring a film. I’m certain that he can’t bite the hand that feeds him, but the exhibitor attendees need to see the films, need to be excited about what is coming. Everything else of the show is just gravy.]

Another factor Sunshine might not be considering is that digital cinema is maturing, growing out of its infancy and into adolescence. The technology is responsible for one of the greatest, if not most disruptive, transitions the motion picture exhibition industry has ever seen. By now, there has been some shakeout in the number of companies who entered the digital cinema space, and those that remain are naturally looking to augment their marketing plans. This is a common trend in emerging markets and industries, though unfortunately this phenomena is taking place in digital cinema during a record setting recession.

[Editor again: One hesitates to argue with Sperling, who was there, but…This moment in the transition is more important to more people than at any other confab…except the next one. The last 7 years has been important for the early adoptors, but now there is even more change that will be vital…and the decisions will be made for hundreds and in some cases thousands of systems. The April 2010 transition to SMPTE qualifications for equipment signifies the potential for many (perhaps unspeakable) things that exhibitors need to be on top of.]

Read the original article at: Setting The Record Straight On ShowEast Setting The Record Straight On ShowEast

Celluloid Junkie » Posted by J. Sperling Reich | November 6, 2009 5:23 pm

That’s why the number of trade show booths at this year’s ShowEast declined from around 205 to 190. “Most of the companies that were there in the past were there, they’re just downsizing,” Sunshine pointed out. “Guys who took four booths were taking two, …

What remained unchanged at this year’s ShowEast (the 25th year the event has been held) was the quality of the program itself. …

ShowEast has become known for giving exhibitors their first peak at some of the award season’s most likely Oscar contenders and this year proved no different. Lionsgate presented “Precious”, Warner Bros. brought…

There was some murmuring throughout the week about Disney not showing up with a film, as they did last year with “Bolt”. Specifically, ShowEasters were hoping to see “The Princess and the Frog”. While Disney originally made plans to bring a film to the show, …

Though there may be some who question the future of ShowEast, rest assured it will be back next year. Organizers attempted to move …

The rumors that Nielsen’s contract for ShowEast expires after 2010 are false says Sunshine, mainly because … We wish them a lot of luck with their show in 2011, but the other shows that we run, Cinema Expo International, CineAsia and ShowEast will continue as usual.”

In that case, I’ll see you all in Orlando next October.

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