photokina Suspended – After 70 Successful Years
Photokinasuspended Featured.jpg

This is sad news. But in those strange times it was somewhat obvious that this could happen. The prestigious Fotokina in Cologne has been suspended until further notice.

In 2019 the world of trade fairs was very different. NAB, IBC, CineGear, CP + .. the list goes on. 2020: nothing but yawning emptiness. Each individual show was deleted one by one from the 2020 show calendar. COVID-19 became a global pandemic and trade shows became a dangerous place. Read our coverage of the cancellations of some of the biggest trade shows in 2020: NAB, CineGear, IBC, CP +.

The renowned Fotokina in Cologne has been in operation for 70 years. For the past 20 years the show has taken place every two years in the Koelnmesse congress center. In 2020 the show wanted to switch to an annual event, but that plan is apparently off the table.

photokina supended due to corona virus and market decline

If you visit the photokina website, you will not find any news about the upcoming show dates, just this statement:

Together we can look back on a successful, colorful and innovative era: 70 years of Fotokina in Cologne. It has been the top address for photography, video and image processing for generations since 1950. In view of the current developments on the imaging market, we have no choice but to suspend the implementation of the Photokina in Cologne for the time being. This step is very difficult for us. What remains are the enormous memories – and the pictures of many generations. Thank you for 70 years together.

If we dig a little deeper, we will find more evidence that not only the coronavirus but also the ongoing decline of the entire imaging market is blamed for the tough cut. From the press release:

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, the imaging market was subject to major upheaval, with double-digit annual declines. The momentum in this direction increased massively in 2020 and recently reported a decline in the region of 50 percent.

Further developments

I think we're making a hilarious trend here. Large trade shows require large numbers of exhibitors and even more annual visitors to run a profitable business. As the example of the Fotokina shows very clearly, this business model seems at least questionable.

NAB show canceled in April 2020 due to coronavirus. Photo credit: Jakub Han / CineD

Both global and local companies have had to adapt to the new marketing regime for 2020. Many virtual shows were held, and product launches on YouTube and Facebook were no longer uncommon. And that marketing effort seems to have worked quite well. So why should a company return to fixed exhibition dates and want to pay the (sometimes very high) premium for a stand on the exhibition grounds – not to mention the cost of the stand itself, staff, transport and so on.

We may experience a transition phase here. Away from global trade fairs with fixed dates and towards many smaller (online) events of the individual companies. And maybe that's not that bad for us filmmakers, although of course I feel sorry for the companies behind these shows.

Link: press release

What do you think? Is this the beginning of the end for trade fairs in general? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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