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The Digital Show dumped

IDEA Australia has cancelled plans to hold The Digital Show in 2017 and ‘has no plans for future events of this kind’.

IDEA Australia President, James Murray, said while The Digital Show in its various formats has served the industry well over the past 20 years, it is now time to take a fresh direction to grow the imaging and digital entertainment category.

‘Our intention is to create new ways to promote photography to our communities, while providing value to the industry and IDEA members,’ he said.

‘The Digital Show has proven to be very successful over the years. However, we recognise that it is important to keep abreast of how the industry is changing and how consumers are engaging with photography.

‘With this in mind, we need to consider other creative and innovative opportunities that reach a broader market and which keep enthusiasts connected and inspired with their photographic journey.

‘We look forward to providing further details on our new direction in the near future.’

The last Digital Show was held in Melbourne in 2015. The decision of the AIPP to move its APPA judging away from The Digital Show, along with high profile no-shows such as Canon and Sony, have made holding a consumer show at a high profile, high cost venue a far greater financial risk than in previous years.

The press release is unclear whether ‘future events of this kind’ includes events of any kind. As revenue earned leasing stand space to exhibitors enables IDEA to continue operations, the decision to shut off that revenue source begs questions about IDEA’s continued existence.

At the end of the 2014/15 financial year (IDEA has yet to lodge its latest financial report to ASIC)  IDEA had $660K in cash and net assets of around $350K. (However its annual financial result was a $32,800 loss for the year.)

IDEA currently has less than 20 members listed on its website, who pay a $500 annual membership fee. This is clearly not a viable revenue stream for fulfilling IDEA’s formal objectives as a non-for-profit organisation.

– We went back to IDEA seeking more details about future plans and the financial health of the association, and James Murray kindly supplied the following statement:
Members were issued the financials prior to the AGM. The membership is aware of the financial position – which is healthy and positive.

The Digital Show has been our main source of revenue. The board is currently reviewing opportunities to become involved with existing events, as well as grass roots opportunities. These would provide the revenue stream, and be more frequent than The Digital Show, providing more constant value to the membership and industry.

The reference to ‘no plans’ only refers to The Digital Show as a stand-alone event in the traditional format. The brand ‘The Digital Show’ or ‘The Digital Playground’ may be used in the future if the context is appropriate.

IDEA is committed to providing greater value to the membership and industry moving forward, how that looks is still taking shape right now. The firm decision is no Digital Show, and it was important that this was shared so companies involved can plan accordingly.

We expect to have a firm direction by the end of February, and certainly will make a further announcement at that time.

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