An interesting interview in Printweek included (content quoted in full for purposes of review and comment)
Daniel Danielli, Editor, Printweek - On a different topic, Heidelberg UK is not exhibiting at Northprint and you didn’t exhibit at Grafitalia – have you reviewed your exhibitions strategy?
Jürgen Rautert, Heidelberg Sales - Yes. To put it bluntly, I hate the amount of money we have been spending at exhibitions, it is too much. Drupa is something very special, so it’s hard to reduce our spend there, but we have drastically cut back on shows in the US and we will reduce at Ipex, but we will be there. We will reduce the number of minor shows we attend around the world, as we would rather use our showrooms to demonstrate our products. I don’t think it’s fair any more to spend the kind of money we were spending 10 years ago, because in the end the customer pays. It is the same for exhibitions as it is in every other field of business – the minor players in the niches will continue and a few of the bigger ones will continue, but the medium-sized fairs will disappear from the industry. That’s my prediction.
So if Heidelberg is not at Northprint, will they be at Total Print Expo in October? This is not supposed to be "Southprint" but a continuation of Digital Print World with added litho or whatever meets the requirement. In 2008 Heidelberg showed how Anicolor coped with short runs. I thought this was exactly what a trade show is supposed to be about. Nearby Fuji showed a video about inkjet. Whatever run length you had in mind the Heidelberg stand showed actual production. See my story for OhmyNews. (The editors switched the headline to e-books, I thought the Heidelberg arrival at a digital show was the main news.)
Unless they see Total Print World as a niche show they may value, it will probably revert back to appearing to be a digital show. So what would that mean? It could mean that this was a show about "short runs" and only digital is still worth promoting. I used to think that Heidelberg would continue to attend as the comparison with inkjet would make more sense. the kit announced at drupa is expected to be better known later this year and leading up to IPEX 2010. What is a "short run"? 2,000 would cover quite a lot of print. People I spoke to in 2008 could not make much sense of the Heidelberg claims that Anicolor was suitable for runs less than 50. Just my impression, this is just a blog. But in future the case for litho comparisons will be more compelling as a topic.
Debate will wait for IPEX or even drupa but things change meanwhile. The London Bookfair will include a digital area with a stand for Easypress Technologies. The current interest is in ePUB but the Atomik Dynamic Publisher also supplies print ready PDF. So this relates to the drupa Innovation Parc and web-to-print. Life would be easier if the bookfair used all of the upstairs at Earl's Court and left some space in Earl's Court 2 for a print show such as Total Print Expo. The software companies could all be upstairs whatever they suggested as output. A major gain could be that the London College of Communications Futures Conference would still be upstairs but with a direct link to Total Print Expo. The arrangement where you have to walk round the whole building to find the stairs makes no sense at all. Easy to imagine on a blog. Expect more travel in time and space.