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New photo expo to focus on retail sales

July 7, 2011: New consumer photo show organiser, Edge Exhibition and Events, will focus on direct retail sales at its proposed Photo and Digital Expo event in Sydney next March.

The event is scheduled for March 30 – April 1 next year at the Hordern Pavilion & Royal Hall of Industries, Fox Studios, while the annual industry show is at this stage booked in for next May in Melbourne.

While Harvey Norman is the expo’s official Retail Partner, event organiser Graeme Ayerst told Photo Counter that exhibitors could also ‘bring in a retailer of their choice’ as an alternative, or sell direct themselves.

Retailers other than Harvey Norman would not be allowed to promote themselves, and only sell the products of the exhibitor.

Larger retailing competitors of Harvey Norman such as Dick Smith would not have a presence, he said.

‘I am sure that there will be certain suppliers that will not want to be dictated to, as to which retailer they utilise,’ said Mr Ayerst. ‘In these instances they may chose a retailer of their preference. In these instances, however, the retailer chosen may only sell the product of the exhibitor that is represented at the event.

‘I am sure there will be exhibitors who do not supply Harvey Norman and only supply specialist retailers or possibly direct to the end user. The needs of these companies will be handled in a manner that is beneficial to each exhibitor’s needs.’

He said Edge Exhibitions will offer exhibition space at a substantial discount on the square metre ‘rack rate’ offered at the recent Imaging & Entertainment event and come in substantially under the rate larger exhibitors are able to negotiate. Smaller distributors handling accessory lines would be sought as exhibitors, as well as major brands.

He said there would be an accompanying seminar program which would be ‘more towards hobbyist rather than professionals, or certainly retailers.’

While Mr Ayerst said he was impressed with the Imaging & Entertainment show, he added, ‘When you get people there it’s a missed opportunity – people like to purchase. After they’ve seen and touched they want to buy.’

Graeme Ayerst has extensive event management experience in his native South Africa, organising a series of consumer-focussed exhibitions, including motor shows, home entertainment shows and the template for the proposed Sydney event, the Johannesburg-based Photo & Film Show (‘The biggest photographic event on the continent’). This is now in its third year and highly successful, according to Mr Ayerst.

The Sydney show would feature games, computers, big screens, photography and cell phones, and exclude whitegoods and home appliances.

Peter Rose, director, Australian Activities, PMAI, said he found Mr Ayerst’s description of PMA’s Imaging & Entertainment show as primarily a trade-focussed event ‘interesting’:

‘This is simply not true. The recent Imaging and Entertainment Expo held in Sydney 10 days ago attracted over 20216 attendees including 2879 Professionals, 2804 retail and business, and over 12261 general public.

‘Both PMA and PICA decided several years ago that the emphasis for the event would be “Prosumers” and the public, and that is what has been delivered. It is unfortunate that Mr Ayerst has not been correctly informed.’

Mr Ayerst countered by observing, ‘If you go to a show and can’t buy anything, it’s very much a trade show.’ .

PICA executive director Paul Curtis has also reacted negatively to the proposed event, going so far as to seek legal advice on its name.

In a letter to PICA members today he wrote:

‘It seems ironic that while we have the industry working together to resume exhibition control to protect exhibitor interests, we now hear off (sic) a show promoter from completely outside the industry.

‘Oddly enough, in the enquiries I have made so far, I have not found any of the major companies that have even heard of this promoter!

‘If the comments attributed to him in the media are in anyway accurate, I am concerned that the promoter is spectacularly ill informed! Whereas everyone has a right to do their own thing, I am personally concerned that the use of the name advertised could be deemed as positioning the venture as an industry project and might be seen to pass off on the industry’s own show.

‘Accordingly, I am proposing that we seek legal advice before making any comments to the media.’

Mr Ayerst has contacted 123 companies inviting them to a formal launch of the Photo and Digital Expo at the Sydney Cricket Ground Long Room on July18.

He said that so far he was getting positive feedback, plenty of enquiries and the proposed show already has its first bookings.

‘Visitors will pay to come in,’ he said, ‘Success depends on success of the marketing campaign. We will have to be on top of our game.

‘The marketing and PR campaign will ensure the event has high visitor attendance in order for every exhibiting company to experience a solid return on investment.,’ said Mr Ayerst.

For (somewhat) related story: ‘PICA takes back annual show’, click here.

Photo and Digital Expo website: www,

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