Last year’s inaugural The Print Show was a resounding success, drawing praise from all corners of the print industry for its content, calibre of exhibitor and overall approach. PITR caught up with Event Director Chris Davies for a sneak
preview of what we can expect at this year’s event, which takes place on October 11-13 at the NEC, Birmingham.
PITR: You managed to stage an event last year that attracted plenty of praise. What would you say were the main reasons for its success?
Chris Davies: We set out to develop a show that addressed all areas of the industry and, with the quality of exhibitors that were in attendance last year, that is just what we did. Not every show organiser can say they had brands such as Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Grafityp at their first event.
We also had a tight-knit organising team that worked tirelessly not only to bring in this high calibre of exhibitor, but also to market the event properly. We spent a lot of time working on campaigns to ensure that people knew just what the event was about. This worked very well and we were able to surpass our initial targets by bringing in more than 5,300 visitors over the three days.
PITR: What have you been doing to improve on the event and how will the 2016 show differ in content?
Davies: Speaking to both exhibitors and visitors throughout the show, the amount of positive feedback we got was really encouraging. It set us up nicely for this year, with plenty of companies that didn’t exhibit in 2015 signing up for 2016. The floorplan also includes a host of key returning companies, such as Konica Minolta, Signmaster Systems, Grafityp, Riso, Antalis, Premier Paper and Intelligent Finishing Systems.
We’re currently working on the content programme, which is set to be more expansive and informative than last year. Although we are still in the planning stages, what I can say is that there will be a whole host of specialist speakers in attendance, each of whom will be giving advice on specific sectors of the industry.
PITR: You recently announced that The Print Show will be relocating from the NEC to the International Centre in Telford for the 2017 event. Why did you decide to make this move?
Davies: We’ve experienced a surge of interest in the 2017 show, with many exhibitors this year looking to secure their place at next year’s show as well.
Our floorplan for 2016 is already getting very choked for the bigger stands, so we have had to consider taking more space. On top of that, a large number of our key exhibitors have been asking us for space in 2017, to make sure they can retain the most advantageous spots.
PITR: Did the decision by IPEX to relaunch at the NEC have any impact on the move?
Davies: It’s no secret that IPEX will be returning to the NEC next year, and this has had a big impact on our decision. Previously, I have spoken out about what I felt was a very cynical move by IPEX – to announce the return of their show the
day before The Print Show 2015 opened its doors, moving from March to October and a year earlier than originally planned.
It was also the day after we had announced our commitment to shows in 2016 and 2017. The final piece of the puzzle is that IPEX has changed from being an internationally-focused event to a nationally-focused one. It can only leave you with one assumption – that it is a strategic move to try and block us from fulfilling our promise to create a sustainable, annual, UK-focused and rightsized trade show dedicated to celebrating UK commercial print and providing it with an annual economic kick-starter.
Without a slot open at the NEC in 2017, we embarked on a UK tour of exhibition venues, ironically ending up a short distance up the road from where we started, at what is an excellent, fresh, modern and purpose designed 13,000 square metre site that will be a great host for us.
PITR: What are your main hopes for the event this year?
Davies: The confident and warm response generated by the success of the 2015 event has definitely driven much earlier confirmed bookings for 2016, and we are much further ahead than we were this time last year. As a result, we are expanding the show and looking at an event that will be about 15-20% larger in its second year.