Following the announcement by NPES last month that it was assuming full ownership of the Graph Expo and Print trade shows that were, for 35 years, a partnership between NPES, Printing Industries of America and Idealliance (originally NAPL) under the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) umbrella, I spoke with both Michael Makin, CEO of Printing Industries of America, and David Steinhardt, President and CEO at Idealliance, to get their take on the situation.

Not surprisingly, both executives were very positive about the situation and expressed their desire to remain involved with the shows even though they had no specific ownership role. Both felt that it was important for an industry our size to have a thriving annual trade show where the industry can come together to see the latest technology showcase. And neither believed that losing revenue from the show, which had been declining anyway, would have a significant impact on their organizations.

Steinhardt indicate that the bulk of Idealliance’s revenues come from its global training and certification programs, and that divesting from the show might actually give the organization more bandwidth to work on new initiatives, including an increased focus on the brand owner/designer community. Makin pointed out that Printing Industries of America has been operating since the 1800s, and this is not the first time the organization has experienced adjustments. Printing Industries of America also has many revenue sources around training, certification and events that will still remain, of course.

While the three organizations declined to reveal financial details of the arrangement, it is assumed that whatever payouts occurred will cover anticipated show revenue for some period of time that Idealliance and Printing Industries of America could have expected to receive – that only makes sense. And that would also provide a buffer against lost show revenue, giving them time to find alternative revenue if necessary – although I didn’t get the impression from either of them that this was required.

There are some potentially very positive outcomes for the industry here, although we will need to wait and see how it all plays out.

First, according to NPES, sole ownership gives the organization more flexibility in rethinking the show and investing in it differently than they otherwise would have been able to.

Secondly, both Idealliance and Printing Industries of America have pledged to play an active role as prominent partners in the show, including exhibiting, partnering in conference sessions, and helping to promote the show. As Makin said, from an attendee perspective, “Unless you were involved in the detailed minutia of the GASC shareholder agreement, you will not see any difference.”

After a one-year detour to Orlando in 2016, Print 17 is back in Chicago at McCormick Place, 10-14 September. Graph Expo 2018, scheduled for 30 September through 3 October, will also be at McCormick. In 2019, the show returns to Orlando, 22 to 25 September.