The annual IBC Exhibition and Conference held in the Amsterdam RAI during September has been the centre piece of the European Broadcasting Industry calendar for many years.
Indeed MSA Focus has attended religiously since the company’s conception in 1988 (at which time IBC was held in Brighton, UK). Over the years MSA Focus has also had a regular presence at both the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas and Broadcast Asia in Singapore.
I think it’s fair to say that, just like any other events that are exposed to the fluctuations and frailties of world economics, these exhibitions and others like them have experienced a number of highs and lows over this time, however they have remained leading and indeed vital events on the global stage for anyone involved in the creation, management and delivery of content, regardless of platform. That being said, we at MSA Focus firmly believe that over recent years there’s been a fundamental shift in the dynamics of these events; gone are the days where our team of professionals would be kept continuously busy for the entire duration of a show through regular walk-on demonstrations, pre-arranged client meetings and organised in-depth system walkthroughs.
In recent years, the honest truth is that as a company we have questioned the viability of and investment in such events, for the particular product line MSA Focus has to offer. What we offer is essentially a suite of back office management applications; feature rich and entirely focussed on and developed for the broadcast industry, but back office management software none-the-less.
I have no doubt that companies catering for the more creative sectors of the industry, where the focus is on the creation and manipulation of visuals, graphics and effects etc. along with those offering front line tech and hardware, where equipment demonstrations are not so easy to organise, will continue to experience a good return on investment with IBC, NAB, BA and shows like them, as after-all the original premise of this type of show was to provide a platform for these very types of technology.
For MSA Focus though, after careful thought and following a study undertaken with our clients and contacts; the conclusion is that the nature of these trade shows is now more social than selling for us, and going forward we will look to take a different approach to our presence at these events. We will always attend IBC, NAB and BA but instead of taking exhibition floor space, we’ll simply walk the show and hook up with contacts in the cafes and canteens or organise small off-show events to meet and greet clients in a manner that suits both them and us.
Our name is already well established and with offices in the USA, UK and Malaysia we’re in the mix internationally and are indeed well represented. As such we have concentrated greater investment into our web presence, both through www.msafocus.com and other methods of leveraging the web and web technologies to reach our audience and interact directly with clients both existing and potential; the continual expansion of our web-based presentation and demonstration program for example, which is highly time and cost effective. In tandem with this hosting corporate events at key shows world-wide and providing international roadshow tours allows us to provide busy clients with a showcase of the latest and greatest right on their door step, often in more comfortable and less pressured environments.
So, Exhibitions: To Show or not to Show? Well, evolution is both necessary and inevitable and I see this as no more than an evolution of how we approach exhibitions. Will we show in the traditional sense, at this point in time, no; but we will be at the show – we’ll show ourselves, our interest, our ideas, our insights, talk about our latest developments and interact with our clients and contacts via more a social approach and of course there’ll always be a laptop to hand and a corner or café in which to sit if a quick demo is appropriate. But just as IBC, NAB, BA etc. will remain leading and indeed vital events on the global stage, we need to ensure that we remain a leading and vital proposition in the sphere of the broadcast industry in which we operate.
Managing Director, MSA Focus