Back in May Photokina, the biennial photo industry trade show in Cologne, Germany, announced that it will become an annual event and include products and technologies beyond its historical focus of cameras and photography.
Now the recently appointed new show manager Christoph Menke has provided some background on the decision to change the dates of the future shows and other changes in a Q&A session with the internal PR team of Koelnmesse, the company that is organizing Photokina.
What made Koelnmesse decide to change the show cycle from every other year show to a yearly show?
Today, professionals and consumers view the subject of imaging completely different compared to 10 years ago. Now virtual reality, wearables, tablets, mobile and smart home security are an integral part of the imaging world. The same applies to imaging software for editing, sorting, storing images, or even for CGI & sharing solutions.
As an imaging platform, we need to embrace those new technologies. As a part of this embrace, we acknowledge the significantly shorter innovation cycles of those new technologies compared to established capture technologies. For instance, the software industry has always been characterized by short development cycles. To offer these industries a suitable exhibition platform, the answer can only be a shorter cycle.
Based on surveys we know that our visitors prefer an annual photokina. The annual show cycle will also put a more regular spot light on other segments of our show such as photo equipment, photo accessories and photo studio segments and the brands represented there. They will benefit from more frequent exposure to buyers, consumers and the international media attending our show
Why is photokina going to move to May in 2019 and the following years?
The photokina dates for the next 2 years are Sept 26-29, 2018 and May 8-11, 2019 (Wednesday to Saturday). The switch to the May dates starting in 2019 is the result of conversations with key accounts from all segments. The feedback we received indicated that the May dates will provide an ideal time frame to fully take advantage of international demand before the start of the summer season.
The Show will be shortened from six to four days – what will be the upside of this change?
Based on attendees surveys we conducted we know that four show days are sufficient to see all the imaging technologies and content. Within those four days we create a more compact and thereby more intense show experience that is appreciated by both exhibitors and visitors. The fact that our customers will no longer have to wait two years for the next photokina had a significant impact on the decision to shorten the sequence.
Will the annual show cycle also mean changes to the content and focus of this event?
The changes in content and focus are what led to the structural changes. New technologies are accelerating in the innovation cycles in the imaging world. The annual show cycle is photokina’s response to a rapidly changing market place. Our mission is to provide a platform that shows the imaging technologies of the future and promotes the exchange between developers, engineers, start-ups and manufacturers.
Take video for example: In times of the YouTube-revamped trend towards amateur videos and an increasing convergence of the technologies for photo & video (4K-Grabbing), the moving picture is as important as it was in the first hour of photokina – hence the name. One of the highlights for the next event will be an Imaging Lab at photokina.
What has been the reaction of your photokina customers to the date change?
So far the responses are mostly positive. Budgets and logistics are certainly issues which have to be dealt with and we expect a transition process to adjust to the yearly dates. We are confident that the date change will provide an improved photokina for exhibitors and attendees alike.
The latest editions of Photokina were noticeably smaller and less busy than previous shows which is not much of a surprise given the decline of the camera market. Let’s hope the changes mentioned by Christoph Menke will help Photokina remain as relevant and vibrant as it has been throughout most of its existence.