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Editorial inquiries to Nadia Cameron: ncameron@mashmedia.netAdvertising inquiries to Jaime Linin: jlinin@mashmedia.netwww.exhibitionnews.co.ukSpecial report the UK'S contractor marKet: Who'S in control?Earlier this year, the competitive landscape of the mainstream contractor market took a significant shift as we saw the second major merger among the top ranks of the market in four years. For some time, industry figureheads have warned that if contractor margins don't improve, we will soon see the collapse of one or more major contractors. Whether or not the mergers of Stanco/Opex and then Early Action Group were forced out of fiscal necessity, no-one can deny the contractor market is vulnerable and the spread of market share has reached a virtual duopoly for the first time in the UK. Exhibition News has commissioned an independent, in-depth research project to investigate industry perceptions of contractors, the buying behaviours of organisers and why the wealth divide is so great between those that hold the lion's share of the market and those that pick up scraps. Don't miss this important piece of industry analysis in next month's edition of Exhibition News, hitting desks 1 October.EXHIBITIONNEXT ISSUE

in an Olympic year, when we have a genuine opportunity to kickstart industry at one of Europe's most iconic venues. We should be be seen strongly promoting industry via one of its most effective media - exhibitions. What we have instead is a miserly, backward-thinking and utterly misguided proposal, clearly dreamed up by preening accountants, who patently have no imagination and no understanding of the real needs of industry and business. Our Mayor ought to be ashamed and needs to intervene to deny TFL the right to commit gross folly while wildly shooting itself and everyone else in the foot. The fi gures TFL publish are misleading. If they look at averages, when there are huge peaks and troughs with exhibition and resident traffi c, this of course belies the true story: That visitors expressly depend on a direct tube link from one of the major tube hubs, Earl's Court.I draw your attention to a statement made recently by the Right Honourable Dr. Denis MacShane MP to the Mayor of London criticising the changes and hope you will take this matter further. - Buzz Carter, director of the IDEX Group.Anyone with even a scintilla of grey matter can see that the cuts to the Olympia tube service will negatively affect Olympia's visitor levels and therefore British industry and British exports. The stance adopted by TFL is potentially murderous to the events industry. It is completely out of step with the need for London, READER RESPONSEwww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 41YOUR SAYThe cancellation of the District Line tube to Olympia and launch of London Wild Bird Watch Live lead this month's reader feedbackTUBE CUTS WILL AFFECT OUR INDUSTRYONLINE SAY-SOTwitter postsPitching today. You can tell by the radical increase in the number of people wearing shirts and ties.LogistikGroupOh dear! #KingsofLeon have cancelled the rest of their USA tour. Have they got any cancellation insurance?Adrian BevanZing has signed our fi rst contract following The Event and Exhibition Show - proving yet again f2f works.Zing InsightsInspired picnic lunch by #TrueDeli at Sticky Wicket. Sadly our team failed where the potted shrimps succeeded.Guild of Fine FoodLinkedIn forumsMore companies are sending their design briefs out to just about anyone who contacts them. This sometimes means 10-15 companies and I feel it dilutes the efforts we all make on a day-to-day basis to give them what they want. Can this process really be of benefi t to them? I'm sure a decision based on 3-4 designs would be far more considered.Brian Payne asks other contractors for their views on tendering The Olympia Underground Line 'Shuttle' may take up valuable track (and platform space) in the Earl's Court area during the rush-hour peak, but pathing could still be found to operate a Monday to Friday 0930-1630 service without it doing so. Saturdays and Sundays clearly are not a problem. While the Overground and the West London Line offer increased connectivity, it is not to the centre of town. Earl's Court station offers same-level and same-platform direct connections with many other destinations across London as well as direct Piccadilly tube line service to Heathrow Airport and St. Pancras Station with Eurostar connections.To save (TfL) money, priority must be given to maintain the service when the exhibition hall is open to the public.- Howard Kirke, EN reader.PRIORITY SHOULD BE GIVEN TO OLYMPIAWild Bird Watch: An eagle eye on opportunity?In a recent issue, EN gently poked fun at Upper Street Events' new launch London Wild Bird Watch Live, suggesting it'd be just for anoraks (July 2011, p46).I expect you all remember the black and white Guinness advert with the wonderful white horses in the surf. And do you remember the surfer who was waiting, 'tick after tock' for the right wave? Spotting the potential in the next wave is what successful events are all about in my book. Like waves, exhibitions can surge along run reliably and then suddenly falter and run out, abandoned by exhibitors and visitors alike. Forward thinking and good vision are what's needed so the opportunity can be recognised, tapped and harnessed.Spotting the next wave is what keeps us all engaged in an industry that is exciting, challenging and frustrating by turns. Of course, the problem with Zeitgeist is that it keeps changing and unless we change attitudes too, we'll fail to spot the opportunities as new markets emerge. Sometimes the right ideas seem blindingly obvious once they've launched, sometimes they need to grow on you.Inspiration, entrepreneurial vision and a risk-taking attitude are all very helpful and if you can add clairvoyance, so much the better. However, the key usually lies in careful and quiet data and demographics analysis, which is what I prefer to rely on. So, is birdwatching just for a small group of specialist hobbyists in anoraks? Maybe it was, but that opinion looks a little shaky when you consider the 40m viewings of Springwatch and Unsprung earlier this year, or the fact that the Big Garden Bird Watch broke all records with 600,000 participants. There are currently over 1.3m members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) combined! In fact, the UK market is now worth around £1.5bn. The market has taken a good amount of time to grow to this point admittedly, but this again is a good sign. The last thing to invest in is a fashion or fad, as they quickly pass. A few years back plenty of organisers got hot under the collar about the possibility of launching pilates shows. It proved to be a fad, which burned brightly but quickly burned out too. A £1.5bn market is a decent-sized opportunity in anyone's books. The mission is to ride the wave; we'll bring our full creative force to bear to make sure we do. The exhibition Upper Street Events is organising at London Wetland Centre in Barnes is designed to tap into this growing market as it leaves its hobbyist heritage behind to become thoroughly mainstream. Undoubtedly it's still a specialist area, so we're delighted to have secured Simon King (of Springwatch fame) as creative director as well as the involvement of Stephen Moss, the head of BBC Natural History. And we're partnering with WWT to ensure we deliver the best possible experience for all those involved.Anyhow, what's wrong with anoraks if there are enough of them?- Chris James is event director of London Wild Bird Watch Live.