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Photokina cancelled indefinately
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Photokina cancelled indefinately

We've wrote more than a few times basically "what were they thinking?" when Photokina moved to a May date, from their September date.  We though it was illogical and could spell the doom of Photokina.

It seems we were on the money as Photokina announced that the shows is cancelled indefinately.

Obviously I'm not in charge of Photokina, but I'd love to know what the reasons were for the switch from September and why they didn't simply reboot the show back to September.

Some may argue that the show is outdated, because camera companies can simply show influencers the products and have them talk about it.  While that's great for the influencers, it also prevents effectively any newcomers rising up as well.  The shows basically give everyone access to new products, that won't happen if the shows simply vanish.

Their excuse that there's not demand for imaging products seems a little strange since the entire imaging umbrella is still going strong and including newer products such as drones, smartphones,  video, etc.  Also the size of the market in the 90's and early 2000's with film wasn't much different than what we are seeing today.  For instance, in 1999, approximately 5 million focal plane shutter film cameras were shipped (SLR's mostly), and approximately 5.6 million SLR lenses.    Meanwhile in 2019, 8 million interchangable cameras, and 13 million lenses shipped.  Was 2020 different ? Of course, but 2020 shouldn't be used as a baseline going forward, specially with Olympics coming up in 2021.  Even with 2020, from January through September, nearly 6 million lenses were shipped and 3.3 million cameras.  That's with a 100 year pandemic.

No idea, but I doubt we see another Photokina.

Their press release;

In view of the further massive decline in markets for imaging products, Koelnmesse has decided to discontinue organising photokina at its Cologne location for the time being. "Unfortunately, at present the framework conditions in the industry do not provide a viable basis for the leading international trade fair for photography, video and imaging," according to Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse. "This hard cut after a 70-year shared history was very difficult for us. The trend in this industry, with which we have always had a close and trusting partnership, is very painful for us to witness. But we are facing the situation with a clear, honest decision against continuing this event, a decision to which, unfortunately, we have no alternative."

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, the imaging market was already subject to strong upheaval, with annual declines in the double digits. The momentum in this direction intensified massively in 2020, most recently reporting a decline in the 50-percent range. Recently, these developments have had a profound effect on photokina, which - in Cologne since 1950 - for generations has been the top address for the imaging industry and ranks among the most favourably and emotionally charged brands in the trade fair world.

Since 2014, Koelnmesse, together with the German Photo Industry Association, has taken its cue from downward market trends, responding with adjustments to the underlying concept of the trade fair as well as considerable investment in new exhibitor and visitor segments. "These changes in conceptual design, along with a shift in intervals and a change of dates, did not fundamentally improve the situation of the event," says Oliver Frese, Management Board member and Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse. "While there are more photographs taken today than ever before, the integration of smartphone photography and videography, together with image-based communication, e.g. via social media, was not able to cushion the elimination of large segments of the classic market. As a result, the overall situation is not compatible with the quality standards of photokina as a globally renowned brand representing the highest quality and professionalism in the international imaging market."

Koelnmesse has made its decision in close coordination with the German Photo Industry Association. Kai Hillebrandt, Chairman of that association, remarked: "Our partners in Cologne have done everything in their power to maintain photokina as the leading global trade fair. Nonetheless, an event held in 2022 could not have met the expectations of the entire imaging community that those efforts were intended to serve. That is why we, on behalf of our association, are joining them in taking this regrettably unavoidable step. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the team in Cologne for a tremendous 70 years together!"


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