Posts Tagged ‘Ipex’

  • IPEX is gone – iconic UK trade show pulls the plug

    IPEX London 2014.

    Bowing to the inevitable the organisers of IPEX have called it quits following two disastrous trade shows, one in London where it broke tradition by moving to the capital, the second a vain attempt to return to its spiritual home in Birmingham.

    According to Rob Fisher, the exhibition’s event director, the organisers blamed changing market conditions rather than accept any blame. “The changing market conditions and appetite for a large-scale event which focuses on Print in Action continues to be challenging. Having engaged with a range of exhibitors and partners to evaluate the options for IPEX, we have concluded that the requirements of the industry no longer match our own in terms of the cycle, scale and what is required to help us further support and fully invest in the brand.

    “Through IPEX, we’re proud to have played a role in an important and diverse industry, and to have supported a brand that has such a long history. We enjoyed organising and delivering IPEX 2017 and received positive feedback from exhibitors, many of whom recorded excellent levels of interest and sales at the event. We’d like to wish our partners, exhibitors, and everyone we’ve worked with on IPEX every success as the industry continues to evolve.”

    According to Andy McCourt, associate editor of Print21 and a long-term supporter of the show, the fault lay not in the stars but with some fundamental flaws in management.

    “It’s an understandable move by Informa Exhibitions. The lesson should have been learned long ago – never move away from your market; nurture and cherish your customers and most of all – don’t piss the trade media off!”

    IPEX long held a special place in the heart of the Australian and New Zealand Printing industries. With many print company owners proudly wearing a London School of Printing credential, the opportunity to add on a few weeks tax-free holiday in the ‘old country’ made the show a much loved pilgrimage.

    With the easy familiarity of language and custom, locals flocked in their hundreds to the National Convention Centre in Birmingham. The Print21 IPEX barbeque was a highlight of the industry’s social calendar.

    “Sad to see it go really, but it’s what Andy McCourt says, stay close to your market,” lamented Patrick Howard, former Print21 publisher, who along with McCourt, organised the famed barbeques. “But we still have drupa.”




  • Spotlight on London – Ipex 2014

    Ipex is returning to Britain’s capital city, opening its doors at the custom-built ExCeL International Exhibition & Convention Centre in London’s Docklands in March 2014. The return to London is adding up to be a welcome capital gain for exhibitors and visitors alike.

    London has always enjoyed an iconic international status, where its rich and varied history sits alongside global business. Progressive redevelopment and investment of infrastructure continues to keep London at the centre of the global community. The addition of ExCeL in London’s Docklands, new rail, road and air transport links, the incursion of both the financial services and media sectors, as well as the enduring legacy of the £9bn investment in London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has transformed the area into the City’s commercial heartland.

    Open for business

    Whilst London is still every bit as much the home of heritage landmarks such as Westminster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament and ‘Big Ben’, the London of the 21st century is now ranked as one of the world’s most preferred cities in which to stage meetings and events. And, as one of the world’s top three financial centres, London continues to attract business visitors from outside the UK, who now contribute 27% of London’s overseas tourism economy; just short of £3bn per annum.

    London is now geared to facilitate Ipex’s smooth transition back to the capital. The ExCeL exhibition centre itself is located at the heart of an integrated infrastructure tailored to meet the requirements of the international business community.

    View from the top of the Victoria Tower, the lesser known of the two towers of the Houses of Parliament, towards Big Ben, the River Thames and the London Eye

    Sharing a specific affinity with the broadening media and cross-channel interests represented within the evolving Ipex community itself is London’s fast-developing ‘Tech City’ digital hub: populated by a dynamic mix of blue-chip IT and social networking players such as Microsoft, Cisco, Facebook, Google and entrepreneurial start-ups, and the recipient of a UK Government £50m development grant. Today, there are over 23,000 IT companies based throughout London; more than in any other European city.

    Equally in tune with the Ipex community is London’s highly developed creative media communications sector spearheaded by some of the worlds’ most innovative and respected advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Euro RSCG, Ogilvy and Leo Burnett. Directly employing over 400,000 designers, programmers and copywriters, the city’s creative industries collectively generate annual revenues of almost £20bn, and are already playing a key role in shaping Ipex’s onward evolution.

    Says Ipex Event Director Trevor Crawford, ‘In our predominantly digital world, print is continuously adapting to compete against an ever-expanding menu of communications technologies. This has been a key strategic factor for including a cross media production focus on multi-channel messaging media as an integral part of Ipex 2014.’

    With over 40% of the city’s working population not British-born and over 300 different languages habitually spoken on a daily basis, London provides a unique office from office environment, which according to London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, ‘the best European if not global city in which to do business.’ Arguably the city’s greatest ambassador, this current Mayor is also a regularly published print and broadcast media journalist who is naturally taking great interest in welcoming Ipex visitors and exhibitors back to the nation’s capital city in March, branding it ‘the Olympics of the global Printing Industry’.

    A centre of ExCeLlence

    If London is the best UK city for business, then ExCeL has likewise developed as the country’s best venue in which to do it, boasting events as diverse as the London Boat Show and the world travel market to staging many Olympic and Paralympic events. In the six years since it opened, the venue has almost doubled its size to 100,000 m² following its acquisition by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC).

    ExCeL’s two halls are centrally connected by a boulevard running the entire length of the complex, providing free and reliable Wi-Fi and containing 40 bars, restaurants and eateries. For a major event like Ipex, the boulevard, which will host ‘Inspiration Avenue’, will become very much part of the event and part of the Ipex community experience.

    Trains and boats and planes

    An essential part of ExCeL’s appeal is the immediately adjacent commercial and retail network that has evolved in tandem. Ipex visitors will be instantly struck by the marked contrast in exterior ambience with other exhibition centres regularly utilised on the international graphic arts event circuit.

    In addition to the profusion of local food service and retail outlets grouped around the traffic-free walkways right outside the ExCeL, the £1.6bn Westfields shopping centre is only a ten-minute ‘tube ride’ away; accommodating over 40bn visitors a year – and for those who might be feeling lucky, housing the UK’s biggest casino.

    ExCeL is also arguably easier to get to and from than any other major venue too. In addition to its direct links with six UK-based international airports, the centre is equally, if not more, accessible to passengers on longer-haul flights from North America and Asia Pacific. Able to transfer straight into City airport via European hubs at Frankfurt and Schiphol (Amsterdam), ExCeL is barely a five-minute cab ride or a shuttle bus away, with easy transport links to and from London Heathrow Airport.

    Upgraded rail transport has been one of the most immediate and beneficial legacies accruing through the staging of the Olympic Games increasing the capacity of the Docklands Light Railway network (DLR) by 50% – within which ExCeL has its own two dedicated stations (Custom House and Prince Regent) – and the ‘Javelin’ connecting nearby Stratford International, just a single-stop train ride away from ExCeL, to the Eurostar rail terminal at St Pancras. A more leisurely route to ExCeL from central London (Chelsea Harbour) that Ipex visitors should definitely consider taking is the 40 minute boat ride via the River Thames.

    Whichever mode of transport you opt to take, make London your oyster quite literally by arming yourself with the smartcard of the same name. Aside from saving you the time and trouble of juggling a foreign currency, a pre-purchased Oyster card ( swiped at the point of entry and exit of any bus, boat, tube or train will see you safely on your way – and at almost half the standard cost of travel.

    O2 be in London … at ‘Ipex City’

    Many overseas visitors to world-class trade events like Ipex held in London habitually extend their stay for additional business after the exhibition has concluded; often also returning with their families to enjoy the unparalleled leisure and entertainment opportunities that London famously offers to all its annual 16m + tourists alike. There are 14,000 hotel rooms within the immediate vicinity of ExCeL which have been reserved exclusively for Ipex visitors to book, with overall capacity throughout the city now in excess of 120,000 beds.

    On the south bank of the river stands the O2 Arena, which will be the hub of ‘Ipex after hours’: one of the world’s busiest and most successful entertainment venues, and accessible from the alternate side of ExCeL London via the Emirates airline sponsored cable-car system. With a crossing every 15 seconds, each cable car traverses the river at a height of 90 metres on a 10 minute journey which affords a unique view of London’s transformed docklands.

    The must-play venue for every world class music act, the O2 also houses over 20 different bars and restaurants catering to all tastes; its own eleven-screen multiplex cinema incl. the largest 3D viewing image in Europe; and a unique permanent museum celebrating the history of British popular music.

    It’s that ease of accessibility belying London’s big city status that makes a visit such an enjoyable experience 24/7. The Houses of Parliament, Covent Garden and the City’s renowned West End are all less than 30 minutes away, while back at ‘Ipex City’, there’s cold beer on tap in the ExCeL boulevard and a wealth of opportunities for eating, relaxing and networking once the show’s closed in the evening right here in the immediate vicinity of the centre – now popularly being referred to as the ‘Neustadt’!

    Whether visiting Ipex for business, pleasure or both, visitors can access all their travel, visa, accommodation and after hours requirements online at, which has been designed to make a visit to Ipex 2014 hassle-free.

    Wherever you find yourself to be, London is a city that doesn’t need to promote itself, so there’s never been a better time to capitalise on what Ipex 2014 and London has to offer.

  • Informa stands by Ipex 2014

    In the face of yet another major exhibitor pulling out of Ipex2014 this month with Mimaki’s withdrawal, the event’s organiser Informa Exhibitions is standing by its quadrennial trade show, with a letter to the industry heralding its determination to continue with the UK event.

    In a joint release, Ipex2014 director Trevor Crawford (pictured) and Informa Exhibitions managing director, Peter Hall, said:

    “Ipex will take place in London in 2014. We stand firmly by our mission: to provide today’s printer and their customers with the ideas, insights and solutions to effectively promote the power of print and its integration in the marketing mix,” they said in a joint letter.

    “We all understand that print is experiencing some change – economic, technological, social, and environmental. Events that represent print – such as Ipex – have to adapt and reflect those shifts. When an event takes place every four years, that degree of change can appear dramatic. In fact, it’s simply that a cyclical event like this pulls together the incremental changes that happened over that time period and concentrates them into one experience.

    “Industries that are in flux have to re-evaluate themselves. They need to be brave and find the clarity to focus on what is valuable and should be developed. This is exactly what our customers and their customers are doing. The same goes for us as an event brand.”

    Informa Exhibitions says it expect 80 per cent of Ipex 2014 visitors to be commercial printers, whether in print litho, digital, or from a mix of complementary processes, with the company remaining determined to keep commercial printers at the heart of the event – despite the move to broaden Ipex’s scope to include new digital, print and marketing communications technology.

    “As always, we’re putting commercial printers right at the heart of Ipex,” the letter said. “We surveyed more than 1600 printers worldwide to ask them how Ipex could continue to be relevant to their needs. We’ve taken that research on board to shape our planning. We’re committed to delivering an event that will help printers from all over the world to adapt to these changes and build for the future. Ipex will be the only event in 2014 that brings together the whole international print supply chain to learn, network and do business.

    “Printers are looking to Ipex for vital leadership and guidance. They need a neutral environment, not controlled by a single manufacturer, where they can find the time and space to assess and absorb the changes and opportunities around them. We will provide them with a wealth of world-class content through initiatives such as the World Print Summit.

    “Ipex is a year away. We’re working to deliver an event that gives printers what they need, while also attracting the people who buy print, and showing them what print is capable of, working hand in hand with other communications channels.”

    Informa Exhibitions has suffered a slew of withdrawals from Ipex2014, including HP, Heidelberg, Kodak, Agfa, Xerox, Komori and Canon, among others.

  • Drupa Snooper-drupa every three years: can we take it?

    Print21’s Drupa Snooper, Andy McCourt, takes a close look at how a three-year drupa cycle could wreak havoc with Europe’s crowded printing trade fair circuit.

    As a card-carrying ‘Drupa Snooper’ it comes as no surprise to me that the quadrennial print media show looks set to become triennial. It has been one of the worst kept secrets in the global trade fair industry that Messe Düsseldorf wants to move to a three-year cycle.

    In more genteel times, an organization called Eumaprint ensured that major international print trade fairs did not clash in the same year. All the major expos were signatories to this, mostly through the trade associations who owned or part-owned the exhibitions. Ipex (UK), Print (USA), drupa (Germany) and Italian, Spanish and French trade fairs would all plan their cycles so no two shows occurred in the same year. In the late 1990s there was even an attempt for Pacprint to join Eumaprint through GAMAA.

    The synchronizing of trade fair cycles was primarily at the behest of exhibiting companies since staging such exhibits is both logistically and financially challenging. Evidence of this is clear with the withdrawal of Heidelberg from next May’s Pacprint, and Heidelberg, HP, Agfa and Kolbus from Ipex 2014.

    Now, it seems all bets are off as drupa owners Messe Düsseldorf know full well that by moving drupa to 2015 and then 2018, Ipex, if it remains on a four-year cycle after 2014, will clash in 2018. As a sideline casualty, the Spanish Graphispag expo due in 2015 will undoubtedly suffer.

    There is no way on God’s Earth that major printing equipment vendors can sustain exhibiting at two global trade fairs in the same year. For Australians and New Zealanders, there is little chance that both shows would be attended – it will be one or the other.

    Bearing in mind that Messe Düsseldorf is also the organizer of All In Print China, Shanghai which is on a three-year cycle and occurs in November 2014; it would come as no surprise if battle lines for access to exhibitors’ budgets have been drawn between the British and German trade fair organizers.

    The unholy mess that is the Eurozone at the moment has enabled Germany to rise to a position of economic dominance on continental Europe. Britain is seen as a pariah state by fervent Euro-centrics (“Britain uses Europe like a supermarket.” – French President), the five-decade long courtship of Britain becoming ‘truly European’ has progressed beyond niceties and dainty gifts of appeasement, and now seems like it will either become a shotgun wedding or return of the engagement ring; thrown somewhere into the middle of La Manche.

    I believe this is the psychology behind drupa’s decision to tackle Ipex head-on. The rule book has been torn up, Eumaprint is now toothless and anyway, Ipex is privately owned by the Informa Group after acquiring it from Picon (formerly the British Federation of Printing Machinery Suppliers). Drupa still has strong ties to the VDMA – the German print and paper technology association. With China now accounting for the majority of non-digital equipment sales by German manufacturers, pressure on budgets even for giants such as HP and the situation in Europe, Messe Düsseldorf sees an opportunity to quite possibly monopolise the international graphic arts trade fair calendar; and to blazes with Ipex.

    There is little question that drupa and for that matter K and Interpack, are very well organized and run. The town of Düsseldorf does a great job of embracing the influx of visitors at every level – from the free public transport to the smiles on the faces of barstaff and waiters delivering Pork Knuckles at Schweine Janes restaurant and other Aldstadt haunts. But Ipex has proved to be a terrific show also since it moved to the NEC, Birmingham and internationalized itself.

    Ipex 2014 will be a test of the decision to move back to London but having seen the Excel Centre used for the London Olympics and the way the Brits in general organized the Games, there is no reason to doubt that Ipex 2014 will deliver a great event with a totally different ambience to drupa. Losing HP, Heidelberg and Agfa are certainly blows but my view is that it’s a two-edged sword.

    The decision by a major digital and a major offset supplier not to exhibit at Ipex 2014 could also turn out to be major marketing disasters – the other edge of the sword. Already competitors are increasing their standspace – Konica Minolta has almost doubled its area, for example. For ANZ visitors in 2014, the familiarity with language and many family ties make the London stage convenient for extra-curricular activities.

    It’s going to be a ding-dong battle and we are still in the ‘phoney war’ stage. Ipex and IIR/Informa are mustering support and have already fired a broadside with the £1 million ‘Hosted VIP visitor’ programme – like high rollers being paid to visit casinos; key print executives will be flown in, accommodated and presumably wined and dined during Ipex. There’s more to come, make no mistake.

    Past chivalry between drupa and Ipex is just that – past. The game is afoot to see who will come out on top and, watching from our shores 16,000 kilometers away, it’s a gladiatorial spectacle but hey; we’ve got Pacprint combined with Visual Impact next May. After six Ipexes and seven drupas, that might just do me fine!