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Photo show in Melbourne one weekend in September

IDEA has confirmed that the photo industry consumer and trade exhibition will take place next year at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in September.

This is a change of schedule, which until recently had the show alternating between Sydney and Melbourne annually, and thus in Sydney next year.

This timing will generate its own particular challenges given the huge focus on the AFL finals in Melbourne through September.

‘The trouble with Sydney was that no times they had available worked well for us. They offered a few dates but they were far too close to Christmas,’ said Katherine Singson (pictured right), who assumes the mantle of IDEA CEO from Paul Curtis starting next week.

‘It’s unfortunate we can’t do it in Sydney, but if there is no venue…’ she said.

Ms Singson declined to volunteer specific dates in September, as negotiations were still underway with MCEC management.

She added that there were some preliminary discussions around a smaller event in Sydney next year, but nothing had been decided or committed to.

The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre is closing for three years from the end of 2013 for a major rebuild and upgrade, which leaves a question mark over where the annual event might be held during this period.

Ms Singson said plans for 2014 and beyond had involved discussions with the MECC, but ‘that discussion is to be had at the next board meeting. It’s a huge commitment and the decision has to be made yet.’

The IDEA board is meeting at the Hamilton Island resort next month.

The closure of the Darling Harbour facility in Sydney puts the MECC (along with the Brisbane and Gold Coast exhibition facilities) in the ‘driver’s seat’ when it comes to negotiating with show organisers.

Ms Singson said it was yet to be confirmed whether the show next year would retain ‘The Digital Show’ tag or undergo another name change.

This year's show was distinguished by the number of free talks, seminars and exhibitions available to the predominantly enthusiast audience, and this focus will be retained in 2013.

She seemed less sharply focussed on recruiting the big CE brands than was IDEA president Dave Marshall when outlining the vision for the 2012 show to a PMA audience last year. (See full report.)

‘If we are trying to grow the show we need to be flexible, but not by abandoning the existing audience. We need to give the companies who keep exhibiting year after year a big bear hug.’

 I’m definitely eager to do it [bring in CE companies] in a way that makes sense for our audience, our exhibitors and the overall show.’

She noted that the smaller exhibitors had great appeal, particularly among professionals and enthusiasts, and were ‘a crucial part of the ecosystem’. She said that in chats with show-goers, several had mentioned returning several times to take in everything.

She expressed an interest in further developing the entertainment, fun and educational aspects which were such a feature of the 2012 show, and identified the open-to-the-public APPA judging in particular as a fascinating and appealing insight into professional photography.

Ms Singson declined to comment specifically on the financial success of the 2112 event, only noting that ‘the show was a success in all ways.’

Commenting on fully assuming the CEO’s role at IDEA she said: ‘It’s a privilege to work across such an exciting and creative industry! Imaging and digital entertainment is touching more lives than ever before and is an essential and thriving aspect of our modern culture.’


  1. ROB H ROB H June 29, 2012

    WOW It has taken 30years but finally the show will support wholesalers and retailers with Christmas sales. It must be Christmas cheer in July already.

  2. Michelle O'Brien Michelle O'Brien June 29, 2012

    I was struck by an comment from Katherine that “the smaller exhibitors had great appeal, particularly among professionals and enthusiasts, and were ‘a crucial part of the ecosystem’”. Maybe it’s time to take the focus and energy away from continually trying to attract the bigger CE brands to bolster the show. Maybe we should look to be a more boutique and/or funkier show and aim to attract exhibitors from industries that parallel ours and from whom many of us derive income from. Travel agents that specialise in Photographic Tours are just one example. The show’s already moving dates in 2013, maybe it’s time to move with some new partners?

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