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Is OnDemand Expo still niche? (Part 2)

Published on March 29, 2011

Cary and Kerry Gumas, CEO of Questex, discuss the relevance of the OnDemand Expo in a world where digital is going mainstream. Kerry explains how OnDemand is changing to continue looking forward for the next niche. This video is part two of the two part interview.

Cary Sherburne: Tonight I had the opportunity to go to Hunkler Innovation Days in Switzerland and that show, conference, whatever you want to call it is very, very unique and what struck me about it is they had 30 production lines, end to end so they had multiple vendors you know. So you might have had a, I don’t know, a roll system…

Kerry Gumas: Roll system that’s right.

Cary: …come in and then you got a Xerox engine here and you’ve got a blend of a Hunkler and Horizon on the back end. And so people could come in and see the whole application end to end so there’s this balance between what the customer really needs to see which is the kind of joint presentation and the exhibitors want their branding all over everything. I mean how do you balance that? Is there any way you can transition the show to something like that where people can actually see something working, you know, that they need to use in their business?

Kerry: You remember that there were several years in a row that we had working lines where we were producing books OnDemand and those were really exciting features. I think we would certainly like to be able to make those presentations work again and I think with the vendor community, perhaps getting excited about that, that could be possible. I think the other thing that’s perhaps culturally different about the way the companies go to market in the United States, the way they do in Europe, is here we see companies embarking on their own initiatives, exclusively company sponsored events out in the marketplace and there are plenty of examples in our industry of those. And so there’s a fragmentation that’s occurred and I think that one of the things that we need to really come back to from an industry prospective, I like to use the expression that when an industry is growing it shows. And what I mean by that is that there’s a point in time when if I use an example from another industry, wind power let’s say, which is obviously quite topical right now, the wind power industry has the fastest growing show in the United States, there are many of them, and it’s generally perceived that is a rapidly growing industry.

I don’t want this industry to be perceived to be an industry that’s in decline. This industry is vibrant, it’s dynamic, it’s a source of innovation, of employment, of certainly of shareholder for all these companies that are out here. And I think all of us really need to work together to really continue to get the formula right. Yes we have a show and others are out there that have a show and you can look at that situation and say well, there are too many shows. I think the issue is really differentiation and we certainly focus very much on trying to offer a differentiated educational product to the marketplace. But I think from a more collaborative prospective, organizations like WhatTheyThink who certainly have the opportunity to talk to decision makers around the industry, as well as all of us who are involved in producing these events, I think to the extent there could be more collaborative approaches to maintaining the distinctions that are important on the one hand but also ensuring that there is a vibrant show marketplace that is an industry environment where multiple companies can come to present their solutions to an audience that’s certainly hungry for information. I think there’s and continues to be a true need for that. Companies at the end of the day that are buying very sophisticated products and certainly large scale budgets, they prefer to see the opportunities that are out there and they like the concept of choice, right. So.

Cary: So I guess we’ll see what happens next year in New York.

Kerry: Next year in New York, that’s right, in New York in June; the Big Apple in June. It doesn’t get better then that.

Cary: And after Drupa but not too close to Drupa.

Kerry: Not too close, no. We want to be far enough away.

Cary: Do it back to back; sorry.

Kerry: I think all of us feel that way. We like to get back, catch your breath and get to New York and have some new product to show in the Big Apple as well.

Cary: And I also understand that there’s some move afoot to have free WiFi throughout the whole city, New York.

Kerry: I think Mayor Bloomberg would certainly like to see that, I’m sure. A lot of us would as well. Free WiFi is a great idea.

Cary: That’s a great idea so let’s work for that too.

Kerry: I’m all for that.

Cary: Okay, well thanks a lot Kerry.

Kerry: Well thank you Cary. I really appreciate it.

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