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EXCLUSIVE: Pro audio exhibitors give their verdict on Prolight+Sound 2018

Exhibitors at this year’s show highlight positive trade figures but overall light footfall in conversation with PSNEurope.

A number of Prolight+Sound exhibitors have spoken to PSNEurope to share their thoughts on last week’s Frankfurt fair.

Following Prolight+Sound and Musikmesse 2018, which took place from April 10-13 and April 11-14 respectively, organisers celebrated the ‘synergies’ between the two elements, describing them as being “on the right track”, despite an apparent dip in visitor numbers on the 2017 outing.

The events attracted a combined audience of over 90,000 visitors from 152 countries, despite public transport strikes and around 800 flight cancellations at the beginning of the fair causing significant disruption. A post show report from Messe Frankfurt revealed that the total share of trade visitors was up 10 per cent on the 2017 outing as a result of the reintroduction of dedicated trade days.

According to a number of key pro audio exhibitors at the show, the rise in trade footfall made for an overall successful outing, despite question marks looming over the B2B viability of the show in light of the inexorable rise of the Amsterdam ISE show and the ever-popular NAMM fair vying for the industry’s attention (and purse strings) in the first half of the year.

Jochen Frohn, business development director at L-Acoustics, told PSNEurope: “Prolight + Sound 2018 was a grand success for L-Acoustics. We saw nearly all of our world-wide partners and numerous potential clients on our booth. The overwhelmingly positive demand for our L-ISA Immersive Sound Art demonstrations and presentations of the powerful new workflow updates to Soundvision, LA Network Manager and the upcoming P1 AVB audio processor resulted in standing room-only crowds right through to Friday afternoon. It was a very positive week for the company and for the team.”

Simon Short, UK/Nordics/MEA pro audio sales manager at Focusrite, also described the 2018 outing as a successful show, whilst also highlighting the drop in visitor numbers.

“Pro Light and Sound is always a great opportunity to meet customers and our international partners,” he commented. “It also provides us with the opportunity to demonstrate our latest products to a variety of markets. It was encouraging to see an increase in Dante licensed manufacturer booths compared to last year. Footfall did seem light this year, we would be interested in the results of attendees. Providing customers and our international partners continue to attend the show, we will always happily attend.”

Meanwhile, Anne Berggrein, VP marketing, DPA, had this to say: “Exhibiting at Musikmesse this year was a good experience. We have just started to distribute our products directly to the German market and with the introduction of our new d:vote CORE 4099 Instrument Microphone, it was a good match. We had a good flow of people at our booth and a good attendance at the workshops we held on the Sound & Recording StudioSzene. In general, however, the show seemed smaller and less visited compared to the previous years.”

In keeping with the general consensus, Chris Allen, business development manager at monitor manufacturer PMC, also reported a positive show, whilst also highlighting areas for improvement.

“Although there was an obvious drop in traffic compared to last year for the Pro Audio hall the PMC booth experienced a very healthy number of people, from which I expect a reasonable amount of business over the next few months,” he said. “Should these be successful I will certainly do the show again in 2019.

“I put the attraction to the PMC booth and success down to our own efforts, though; we invested substantially into a large space (as opposed to sharing with a distributor, as many other brands did) and setting up the appropriate products to do effective demos, whilst this was not a priority for some other brands. I think this is an error from the exhibitors, not Musikmesse, and is also why a lot of brands are under the impression that trade shows are not as successful as they used to be.

“Regarding the show, there is room for improvement from Musikmesse, such as improving security – several exhibitors in hall 4.1 had equipment stolen or attempted.”

Messe Frankfurt has announced that next year’s shows will run concurrently from Tuesday, April 2-Friday, April 5, with Musikmesse running for an extra day and closing on Saturday, April 6.

Helge Leinemann, chairman of the board of the Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany (VPLT), claims the move will benefit both shows: “For our association, Prolight + Sound is the highlight on the calendar of events. Together with the broad spectrum of exhibitors, workshops, lectures and professional-development facilities, the international character of the fair makes Prolight + Sound a must for our members and an unrivalled networking platform. Our members were particularly interested in the job offers and working-time models. We are already looking forward to next year when Prolight + Sound is held parallel with Musikmesse.”

“We want to continue offering music fans an attractive music and music-making programme on the Friday and Saturday. To this end, we will develop an event concept with thematic focal points, such as vintage, entertainment and lifestyle, in cooperation with our exhibitors, retailers and partners”, explained Michael Biwer, group show director of the entertainment, media and creative industries business unit of Messe Frankfurt Exhibition.

Details of the plans for the trade-fair duo in 2019 will be announced shortly.