Upcoming Shows Promise
Busy Season for Industry
Photokina 2002 and PMA Fall Are Only Weeks Apart
by Dan Havlik
The fun will kick off at the end of September in the city of Cologne, which is playing host to photokina 2002. Known officially as the "World of Imaging," and informally as "The World's Fair of Imaging," the 52nd photokina (Sept. 25-30) will occupy some 220,000 square meters of exhibition space in Cologne, providing room for more than 1,600 imaging manufacturers from 45 countries. Because the largest contingent of foreign exhibitors will be from the U.S., they've been given their own special exhibition space, the USA Pavilion, located in Hall 10.1.
According to Franz Balve of the U.S. Representative Office of the Cologne International Trade Fairs, over 80 percent of the 5,000 square foot USA Pavilion has already been booked. Exhibitors from the U.S. account for over 160 suppliers of imaging products and services at photokina.
Those attending photokina would be wise not to unpack their bags so soon after the show because they'll just have to pack them again for Fall PMA, October 3-6 in Atlanta, Georgia. Known as the PMA Fall Imaging Conference and Mini Trade Show, the three-day event will take place at Atlanta's Hyatt Regency.
According to George Champagne, president of the Photo Marketing Association International, Fall PMA is designed with both a "high social" and "high education" format. Attendees will be able to meet with a variety of industry trade members and exhibitors to discuss the latest imaging products and business strategies, Champagne said.
"It doesn't matter if it is the rapid-changing digital world or conventional photography, you will receive a complete update at the PMA Imaging Conference by attending the full slate of educational sessions or walking the product-filled trade show floor," he said.
As far as new product releases, camera manufacturers have been characteristically tight-lipped, declining to divulge information about new products so soon before the shows.
At press time, the only company willing to share information with PTN about photokina and Fall PMA releases was Kodak, which will be unveiling a newly reorganized and redesigned line of Advantix APS cameras.
Despite a tough economy, exhibitors and retailers were upbeat about the upcoming shows.
"Photokina is the most important imaging/photographic show in the world," said Bill Stelchecer, president of Kinetronics, which has exhibited at photokina for the last 22 years. "It is a critical part of our international marketing plan. We have many distributors who only attend photokina and this is our only chance to reach them. The important people in the industry are there and they make time to stop and visit."
Joe Ruekert, product marketing manager of Jasc Software Inc., said photokina gives his company "fantastic exposure to photo retailers, photo enthusiasts, the press and other manufacturers, all in one location."
Jerry Sullivan, who heads Precision Camera & Video in Austin, TX, said he's hoping to attend Fall PMA, even though "business has been a little flat lately."
"I'm continuing to be optimistic even though it seems the economy is going to be an issue for awhile," Sullivan told PTN. "But certain segments of our business have been doing very well. With the high end digital cameras, we can't supply the demand. There's been a lot of growth in that department."