It was a very tough decision to take... Not an unprecedented one, because in the year 2000, IFRA at the time decided to move the show from Stockholm to Amsterdam.
Also this year, many exhibitors requested a location that would be located more centrally in Europe, in order to reduce participation costs and travel time for them. Hence the decision.
What do our exhibitors say about the move? Here are some quotes - feel free to comment on this blog and give us your opinion!
Steve Kirk, Director Marketing, ABB, Baden/Switzerland
"We at ABB regret the change from Madrid to Frankfurt at this late stage. We can accept that WAN-IFRA probably did not have any other choice if they were put under pressure by some major exhibitors, but we are very disappointed with this decision, not least because Madrid as venue was approved by the IFRA Expo Advisory Group, where all major exhibitors are represented. We can appreciate that some companies have concerns about the economy in Spain, but the IFRA Expo is not a national event but an international one.
We do not see travel considerations as an argument against Madrid. It is no problem for customers and visitors from most countries to travel to Madrid, and certainly no more difficult that it was when the decision for Madrid was originally taken. For many Madrid is indeed cheaper. Furthermore, we have already had a major trade show in Germany in this year. We do not see the sense in going back to Germany again. If the World Publishing Expo, as it is now called, is to earn its title, then it also needs to cater for more than the German market and not restrict itself to German-speaking venues."
Adrian Pike - Global Vice President of Partners and Marketing, Atex
"We offer our international customers integrated solutions to deliver, target, monetize and organize their content.
The World Publishing Expo is the most important event for us to network with existing and potential clients. The exhibition and the accompanying side events are focussed on the core topics of the publishing industry.
Atex welcomes the move to Frankfurt, because it provides us with a presentation platform with ideal connections, in the heart of Europe."
Kim Svendsen, Marketing Manager, cci Europe, Denmark
"For CCI, IFRA Expo has been an important event every single year. We meet the right decision makers and we get the chance to introduce ourselves to people and organizations we wouldn't have met at other conferences or events. But I'll have to admit that the focus of IFRA Expo has been a bit blurry. Visitors have been left to themselves to figure out which topics were covered where and when.
In Frankfurt, one of the new initiatives I appreciate is a theater/Mediaport for each main topic – print and digital – this means sharper focus and more opportunities for innovative ideas to be shared.
The name change to World Publishing Expo is spot on – publishing has so many facets and local variations depending on where you come from. The suppliers and media companies all need to look globally for new ideas and successes to be on the forefront and this event is really the only place where we can meet with and learn from publishing professionals from around 100 countries.
And THANKS for moving the event to a more central location! It is greatly appreciated!"
Massimo Barsotti, Chief Marketing Officer, EidosMedia, Milan/Italy
"We at EidosMedia believe that the new concept of the World Publishing Expo will provide major benefits to the event.
In fact, while WAN-IFRA is such an important brand, when related to the expo it may inevitably lead to an association with the traditional print world, so we appreciate and support the effort of encompassing the whole world of publishing starting from the name of the event. Moreover, Frankfurt is a location at the heart of Europe and easily accessible from all over the world.
The Media:Executive pass is a right step in the direction of raising the level of the attendees, and we expect WAN-IFRA to promote it accordingly: on the vendors side, this has to be supported as well, ensuring the required availability and eventually communicating to WAN-IFRA about initiatives that may be relevant for owners of the pass. In short, some coordination will be required, but, again, this little extra effort could potentially bring interesting opportunities.
Stephan Bäuerle, Managing Director, Funkinform, Ettlingen/Germany
"In principle, we welcome the move to Frankfurt/Main, because the publishers from the German-speaking countries, particularly from Germany, are our most important customers. This is where the highest demand for efficiency, cost optimisation and market management prevails.
Technical investments accompany any strategy to move ahead. Our customers try to tackle the new challenges with innovation and ideas. At the same time, the internationally renowned trade show venue supports the international approach of IFRA Expo.
On the other hand, we would have expected good results of our trade show participation in Madrid, too, because investments in our products are justifyable also in Spain - maybe even more so. At the end of the day, we deliver best recipies against excessive process cost. And in Spain, since many years, there is an investment backlog. That is why we welcome the decision with mixed emotions."
Klaus Schmidt, Director Marketing / Corporate Communications, Koenig & Bauer AG, Würzburg/Germany
"In view of the current economic circumstances as well as the public discussion concerning State debt and the banking crisis in Southern Europe - at present especially in Spain- the decision to move the IFRA Expo from Madrid to Frankfurt and change its name to World Publishing Expo is seen as a logical and welcome step by both exhibitors and visitors.
Connections to Frankfurt are excellent both from Europe and overseas, it is a major media centre as well as an internationally recognised exhibition location. For these reasons, in the present volatile economic situation we expect significantly greater numbers of national and international visitors than in the highly arractive, lievely, but for many difficult to access city of Madrid. In the final instance, besides the actual exhibition costs, it is the expected number of visitors that constitutes the decisive criterion for the exhibitors, of whom the majority come from Central Europe and who make the Expo a financially viable event.
The short-term decision in favour of the move taken on the basis of the special circumstances in the drupa year 2012 does not in any way affect the major importance of the Spanish and Southern European news publishing industry with which we, as a long-standing supplier partner, have a close relationship.
Our Spanish newspaper customers, who are unfortunately at present also affected by the banking and economic crisis, certainly deserve a PublishExpo in their country in a better economic climate and we wish them a turnaround in the economy at the earliest possible time."
Andrea Galle-Guttkowski, Sales and Marketing, picturesafe media/data/bank GmbH, Hamburg:
"We welcome the move of the World Publishing Expo 2012 to Frankfurt!
Since many years we are exhibitors at the IFRA EXPO also WAN-IFRA members! The news, that the trade show would be held in Madrid was a great idea, both in terms of the geolocation and the fact that Madrid is always worth a trip.
However, it turned out that the logistic effort for us to move the entire booth over 2000 km would not be affordable.
Therefore, we decided against a participation as an exhibitor, we would only have attended as a visitor.
The move to Frankfurt puts us on the map again and we are happy to take part as an exhibitor!"
Jeroen Sonnemans, Managing Director, Woodwing Europe:
"Woodwing offers multi-channel publishing solutions to a broad audience - newspaper customers as well as magazines and corporate publishers.
The name change of the event to "World Publishing Expo" is a great way to correctly position the event for these target groups.
We also welcome the move to Frankfurt; we're sure that Frankfurt as an international hub will not only attract many visitors from the strong central European markets, but also from overseas."