PMA/CliQ: A new date, without help from Japan

The news event (so we are told) is that the PMA Show (organized by the Photo Marketing Association) has just been moved from September 2011 to January 2012. But is it really because of the pressure put on them by the March events in Japan?

I dare say NO.

While it’s true to say that the impact of the 11th March earthquake has been very large on the photo manufacturers, it had only a limited role in moving the big photo fair. The first reason is astonishingly simple and less pleasant to hear in the offices of the PMA itself: This show is falling through the floor since a few years and has been randomly looking for a solution for a few years already.

You have to remember that the PMA Show has long been held behind doors open only to the professional photographers, the distributors and the industry. But it was one of the largest venue for photography-related news and announcements. In the recent years, photography -who could miss that?- went through a series of revolutions and 2008 was specially hard for weakened economies. In 2009, the show did not succeed to compensate this in its home town, Las Vegas, Nevada: A 22% drop in participation, often considered the consequence of the hard competition from the CES Show. But 2010 has also seen the negative effects of a migration to the much-less-famous town of Anaheim, California: A real litany of complaints from the participants and a limited presence. This culminated into Canon not willing to be there.

So, the PMA had decided to kick-start the machine again in 2011 moving back to Vegas. And opening the doors to the greater public for a day (which was thought to be good for financing part of the costs with tickets). At the same time, the show would change its name to become CliQ 2011. However, this late a change for a public event in Vegas in September proved difficult.

The management was left with a half-baked offer not really attracting visitors (they tried hard -and failed- to collect advance fees and tickets) and pros still were dazzled by the changes.

Japan certainly played a role here: Photo brands are not ready to commit themselves now, even if everybody is sure that September is the right time to restart the marketing machine and the ma.

So, the PMA made a strategical choice, difficult but logical: Let’s partner with an organization which is perfectly tuned to the public needs for an electronics show, the CES. This in January the largest event of the electronics gadget industry for the public. A strategic alliance between the two organizers will limit the risks (and the costs) for the Photo Marketing Association.

Conclusion: Bye bye CliQ 2011 in September; the PMA is back under the name of PMA@CES in 2012 between the 10th and the 13th January. This is betting a large sum on a weak hand, but the PMA is near to the bottom. We’ll see if the sons of Vegas will succeed here. In January 2012.