PMA or bust … or just a bust?

By Matter

The Photo Marketing Association conference and trade show kicks off next Friday and, like everyone else in the industry who will be in attendance, I’m eager to see how things pan out. Much has been said about the success of the show and the future of this event since last fall, when Canon announced that it would not be exhibiting and several companies followed suit.

Their reasoning? Canon reps told PDN Gear Guide that it was a combination of the show’s timing, its move to Anaheim, and the need for a larger, broader audience. What didn’t factor into their decision, the Canon reps said, was the money.

For many companies whose pockets aren’t as deep as Canon’s, the money probably was a factor. There are a lot of events to consider and trade show budgets certainly aren’t what they used to be, regardless of who you are. And, as the Canon folks duly noted, the convergence of technologies is attracting more people to events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Heck, in addition to the fancy gadgetry on display, half the appeal is Vegas itself. Without the roulette tables and showgirls, PMA already seems, as Alice Cooper would say, like a shadow of itself.

All joking aside, though, what will become of PMA? I’m a glass half-full gal (depending on when you catch me and who you ask) and to me, the outlook is not that bad. I received an updated press list with 300-plus names on it this week and I’ve booked meetings for my client with all the major players. Sure, I’ve heard from a few media folks who will not be attending or who are sending fewer writers, but it’s certainly not the letdown that I was expecting.

I think the exhibition hall will speak for itself – and news of the turnout will likely get more press than any gear announcement, but I also think the conference’s organizers have something up their sleeves. It’s hard to imagine that they’ve sat back and listened to all this scuttlebutt without devising some plans for 2011’s show. We look forward to hearing what they have in store for us in the years to come and, in the meantime, we plan to sit back and enjoy the show!