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Why Planar, D&M Won’t Be at CEDIA Expo 2009

D&M says it’s about allocation of funds, while Planar says they're still exploring options.


Planar/Runco isn't scheduled to exhibit at CEDIA Expo 2009. Shown is their large booth at CEDIA Expo 2008.
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D&M Holdings and Planar, two CEDIA Expo fixtures, aren’t exhibiting at CEDIA Expo 2009 in Atlanta.

That means CE pros won’t find Planar’s Runco brand or D&M’s Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, Boston Acoustics and Escient brands on the CEDIA Expo 2009 show floor.

Does this surprise you? In this economy it shouldn’t.

“The trade show industry is seeing an overall decrease of 20 to 25 percent,” says CEDIA director of PR Jamie Antcliff. “CEDIA Expo has experienced some downsizing of exhibitor booths.”

“We consider residential and custom installers as crucial to our current and future business,” says Bob Weissburg, president of D&M Holdings NA. “The decision not to participate [in CEDIA Expo 2009] was a very difficult one.”

D&M’s Explanation

The decision for D&M was about “allocating marketing investments,” Weissburg says. “This year my team and I agreed to focus on demand creation for all of our brands, most importantly, driving business to our specialty dealers and retailers.”

Weissburg points to a cross promotion that will allow its dealers to bundle Boston Acoustics and Denon and the company’s plans to put 1,500 dealers through its custom installation certified training.

“Our whole focus is on driving new business for our dealers by bringing them new customers. Right now, it’s all about bringing in new customers,” Weissburg emphasizes.

Weissburg does say that D&M, undoubtedly, would like to be at CEDIA 2009. “We think CEDIA [Expo] is a terrific show and we’ve participated for years and we fully intend to be on the show floor in 2010,” he says. “In 2009, based on the financial impact to the industry, we felt that our focus on driving business for our dealers was a priority over displaying new products at a trade show.

“This is not a knock on CEDIA. There’s just so many dollars to spend and our customers are our priority.”

D&M and its brands will be in Atlanta during for “by appointment” meetings with dealers during CEDIA Expo 2009, according to Weissburg. The location has yet to be determined. “We’ll be local and convenient.”

As for CES 2010, which takes place January 7–10 in Las Vegas, Weissburg is leaving the door open for a similar arrangement that wouldn’t have D&M on the show floor. “We expect to be at CES. The exact venue is TBD, but we’ll certainly be there.”

Planar’s Explanation

Speaking of leaving doors open, a Planar spokesperson indicates that there is still a chance that Runco could find its way onto the CEDIA Expo 2009 show floor.

“Runco is not an exhibitor right now, but we are working directly with CEDIA and reviewing our options,” according to the Planar spokesperson.

However, it’s not clear if the options Planar is reviewing would actually put Runco on the exhibit floor or if it would involve a nearby, by-appointment presence, such as the one D&M is planning. The Runco spokesperson declined further comment.

The Planar brand, meanwhile, had a large booth and launched commercial video and digital signage products at InfoComm 09.

Neither Planar nor Runco is listed as an exhibitor for CES 2010.

CEDIA’s Explanation

Given its assessment that the trade show industry is down 20 to 25 percent and that the 2008 Expo’s attendance was down 14 percent, CEDIA is probably not surprised to see a couple high-profile exhibitors back away.

The CE industry would probably be more surprised if Planar and D&M are the only high-profile exhibitors missing from CEDIA Expo 2009. If the trend from 2008 continues, CEDIA Expo 2009 will see exhibitor attendance and total attendance drop, but non-exhibiting attendance rise.

That means there will be fewer exhibits at the show, but there will be more CE pro-type attendees visiting booths and taking in classes. CEDIA says it has added a lot of value in terms of new training and cost-savings for the 2009 show.

One reason for the trend toward fewer exhibitors is that manufacturers probably don’t bring as many booth attendants as in previous years. Also, some exhibitors are “downsizing and/or aligning themselves with partner manufacturers to share space,” Antcliff says. This, she adds, shows that manufacturers “understand the importance and benefit of CEDIA Expo” but want to cut costs.

“We have seen some cancellations but more than half of those cancellations have been from companies who have been with the show for five years or less,” Antcliff says. “We are strategically focusing on ways to help our exhibitors and members, both new and veteran, cut costs while still being able to participate in CEDIA Expo.”

Robert Archer contributed to this article.



  About the Author

Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Tom at [email protected]

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