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CEDIA Sells Off Its Annual Trade Show

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CEDIA announces the sale of its USA flagship trade event, just two weeks before the ISE 2017 in Amsterdam which CEDIA co-owns.

With 19,000 attendees visiting more than 500 exhibitors (and 100 of them first time exhibitors), CEDIA 2016 was clearly a successful event.

So why sell it? Obviously CEDIA decided they weren't in the trade show business. It's hard when you have a big annual event. It's "only once a year" but you need staff working 12 months on it. That drains the profitability of the event but also drains valuable staff resources.

CEDIA Chairman Dennis Erskine says, “More than half of the CEDIA professional staff spends the majority of their time annually preparing for the show."

So how will CEDIA spend its new found time and money? Well, 2017 will be a transition year where CEDIA will be working closely with the new owner, Emerald Expositions.

If you've been in the industry a while, you may know Emerald Expositions as an amalgamation (via acquisitions) of VNU, Miller Freeman, Gralla events that took the Emerald name in 2013. As the largest trade show operator in the United States, their staff profitably spends each month, 12 months of the year, on numerous events.

While Emerald takes over the operations and destiny of the CEDIA event, CEDIA will continue to be involved in the show, working with Emerald on overall show direction, as well as retaining control and ownership of all educational programming and the CEDIA Awards event.

Beyond those diminshed trade show responsibilities, CEDIA now has the time (and now presumably the funds) to build out its vision.

“CEDIA first and foremost serves its members, and as home technology continues to proliferate, our members need comprehensive tools, resources, and support to assert their position as the single point of contact for technology in the home. Emerald acquiring and consequently taking over the operational responsibilities of the show will allow CEDIA to reallocate staff to develop programs and initiatives that will drive member success across the board,” says Vin Bruno, CEDIA CEO.

It seems to us that CEDIA now has a war chest that allows it to develop an expanded platform with all the latest bells and whistles in training, education and certification. CEDIA would like to expand its outreach to thewider market, build up its training and certification, promote its cause and brand, and help develop a bigger and better workforce for its members. Lack of qualified workforce is a key issue holding back industry growth.

CEDIA members will continue to enjoy complimentary access to the show floor, special savings on all CEDIA education and training, and preferential access to hotel blocks based on join date. Exhibiting member companies will continue to enjoy savings on their booth space and accrue priority points for booth selection. The 2017 CEDIA show will take place September 5-9, with the tradeshow floor open September 7-9, in San Diego, with future show locations identified and space booked through 2023.

Will this divestiture have any portent for its ISE ownership? ISE is organized for CEDIA and InfoComm International by Integrated Systems Events, established in 2003 as a joint venture. Integrated Systems Events is based in Europe and reports to its American show owners. In fact, the success of Integrated Systems Events operating ISE (leaving CEDIA in Europe to concentrate on its mission instead of making atrade show, may have inspired CEDIA to consider this deal in America.

Reuters now says Emerald may be looking for a buyer for its entire company. A new owner of Emerald may be an unexpected twist for CEDIA. Yet the concept, delegating the trade show business to a dedicated 3rd party, may still work well out CEDIA.

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