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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More (Historic) Electronic Show Dailies 

My post on Dick Koulbanis's early experiment with an electronic show daily brought another reminiscence, this time from my friend and colleague Denis Cambruzzi. He recalls the creation, in 1985, of a televised show daily--something I still don't see enough of these days:

In 1985, our publication was blocked from producing a print show daily for the annual industry convention. The association had convinced themselves that a strategic alliance with one publisher would be best for their show efforts. In hindsight, I think this is now considered to be really poor logic. But for us, it was an awful situation. Our competitor would receive all the accolades of covering the event and gloriously dropping a huge (I mean really huge 200+ page mag) at the attendees' hotel rooms early each morning.

In 1985, we had no email, internet, laptops or wireless. Cell phones were called car phones, and that's where they were embedded. But we had an intense desire to win, more than just succeed. We wanted to do something that not just cancelled out our competitor's efforts but, frankly, shamed them.

So we created an electronic show daily--a convention television daily. We convinced the association that it would not be competitive with their previous agreement and to give us exclusivity. We shot video and edited all day. We interviewed attendees, exhibitors and their celebrity guests, covered press and industry events. We even created ads. And guess what? We were airing in the hotel rooms (using hotel closed circuit channels) by 11:30 pm, so we actually beat our competitors to the rooms by six hours.

I'm certain our competitor made more money on their daily. However, we were applauded by the industry and quickly became known for our innovation, creativity and tenacity. Most importantly we gained the industry's respect. There was one company who did not advertise trade--at all, didn't need it. But, when they saw the cameras rolling on the show floor they became eager to sign up for television ads and a year-long print ad contract that we held exclusively for quite some time.

One little tid bit: One year we had Greg Kinnear as our anchor. Of course this was long before he was so famous. I don't believe he credits us with giving him his start.

Okay, I'm game. If you have other unique show daily stories, historic or current, send them along to me. My email address is over to the right.

And I'd be interested in any stories of trade show television/video. Who's doing it this days? How?


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