July 21, 2011: Edge Exhibitions and Events has reconfirmed its commitment to running a sales-oriented photographic equipment exhibition in Sydney in 2012, after cancelling the proposed launch event this week and abandoning a tie-in with Harvey Norman.
‘The show is not off. It’s very much alive,’ Edge Events principal Graeme Ayerst (pictured right) told Photo Counter.
He said he had withdrawn the proposal to partner with Harvey Norman as, after four months of discussions, the retailer had not made a formal written commitment to the Photo and Digital Expo.
‘They verbally committed but did not come up with anything in writing,’ he said.
The uncertainly around Harvey Norman’s involvement led to the cancellation of the launch event.
‘To be quite honest I also feel we needed a retailer who is more of a specialist to the imaging industry,’ he said.
He noted that the Harvey Norman range was not as broad as desirable and that even though the retailer stocked DSLRs, it was focussed on entry-level models.
‘I don’t believe they carry a full range – certainly not to professionals and the more experienced enthusiast.’
He also felt there would be issues around Harvey Norman putting sales of goods it didn’t generally stock through its tills at the show.
Mr Ayerst said that a consumer show incorporating sales from the exhibition floor would not have a negative effect on Sydney-based retail outlets.
‘In my experience in South Africa, we never had any feedback that the show had a negative impact,’ he said.
While conceding that there could be some leakage, he claimed that sales made at the exhibition would largely be additional, rather than cannibalising from local retailers,
‘On the other hand, a show like this promotes photography more broadly,’ he said.
In South Africa the show had created a spike in sales for companies like Nikon, which he claimed confirmed the largely incremental nature of transactions at an equipment exhibition.
He said he was aware of the controversy the mooted new show had engendered and said, ‘ there has been a tremendous amount of support from within and outside the industry for this event.
‘We are in constant contact with people within different aspects of the industry, and hence have been made very aware of both the politics as well as the various power plays that are apparently currently taking place. It is important to note that we have no interest in any of that.
‘We have no allegiance to any particular organisation or body. Our aim is – and always has been – to organise and run a vibrant and successful exhibition and event, just as we do in this and other industries. An event that is of benefit to all our exhibitors and our visitors.
‘…We are not a photographic organisation, a professional photographic body or in any other way connected to any brand or supplier: we are an event and exhibitions company. We put on exciting, successful and professional exhibitions and events, and have been doing so successfully for 15 years in many different industries. We will continue to do so. It’s what we do,’ he said.
He also told Photo Counter that the initial late-March date for the proposed event was at Harvey Norman’s request, and his preference would be for later in the year.
He said some time immediately after Photokina would be ideal, as it would provide a local platform for exhibitors to present the latest new releases from the international show.