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page 48 5EditorialPublishing Director Liz AgostiniManaging Editor Nadia Cameron Deputy Editor Antony Reeve-CrookStaff Writer Mike TrudeaudigitalOnline Editor Sarah O'DonnellAdvertising Manager Jamie LininSubScriptionSCirculation Executive Tim Pardingtonproduction & dESign Production Manager Luke SpaldingDesigner Sarah GarlandProduction Assistant Julia Ball contact uSSubscriptions 020 8971 8268Editorial 020 8971 8292Sales 020 8971 8265 Production 020 8971 8272Published by Mash Media 4th Floor, Sterling House6-10 St George's Road London SW19 4DPTel: +44 (0)20 8971 82821 year's subscription cost is UK £95+VAT p/a Europe £112+VAT ROW £130+VAT.Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the publishers.Printed by Pensord Press Ltd. his month's lead feature stems from a special report prepared by Zing Insights on the state of the contractor market (page 23). The research makes interesting reading for exhibition contractors but I also believe it has merits for organisers. The premise was to gauge the health of UK contractors today given the recession, merger of two of the top three players (Stanco/Opex and Early Action Group), ongoing margin squeeze and market maturity. What the research makes plain is that the UK exhibition industry is in the grips of a contractor duopoly. Is this good or bad? Well, it depends on your point of view. Clearly for Melville and SO Group, having market dominance makes their positions significantly stronger. For the rest of the pack however, it means a tougher slog for their smaller piece of the market and to retain relevancy. Zing's research provides verbal and statistical information on how organisers perceive their shell and electrics providers today. Several interesting points were made by organisers during the initial interview stage; notably that many feel responsible for beating contractors down on price. Such margin reduction has been a catalyst for contractor consolidation. With the remorse is also a demand for innovation. One of the questions raised by Zing's research is whether we need more than two players for shell and electrics. Given shell scheme is such a commodity item today, then possibly not. But if you're looking for a partner and innovator, then the answer should be yes. Innovation is what contractors need to demonstrate and how organisers need to rate them. I can't help but compare the shell scheme situation to that faced by the IT industry, which I reported on prior to joining Exhibition News. Once upon a time, IT hardware such as PCs, laptops, modems, printers and servers were complicated items requiring specialist providers. Even word processing required dedicated installers and trainers. As a result, there were a host of suppliers making good margin on such products. Nowadays, these products are plug-and-play and can be bought from Argos or Aldi for a pittance (and word processing has been assigned to a small part of Microsoft Office). This commoditisation and subsequent margin squeeze forced lots of IT suppliers to consolidate in order to find sufficient sales volume. Many others simply went broke. The clever ones however found their own niche by developing a strategic customer focus, selling next-generation product, and providing specialist services around the everyday IT hardware. These are the companies that businesses with increasingly complex national or global IT demands come to for fresh ideas and innovation. And it's where the margins are today. Organisers don't work in isolation - they need contractors to build the increasingly complex features that shows require to keep exhibitors and visitors coming back. In turn, contractors need to innovate their own businesses to meet the demands of increasingly sophisticated show brands. Treating your contractor like a partner is critical in this exchange. On a final note, this month's edition includes photos from the first Exhibition News Race Day, held at Sandown Park on 14 September (page 44). Alongside the serious business of networking and racing, we ran our first EN Question Time session to discuss the very real issue of increasing and sustaining visitor numbers at exhibitions. EN will be presenting an edited report of this discussion along with broader industry views in our November issue, so stay tuned.Several organisers feel responsible for beating contractors down on priceNADIA CAMERON MANAGING EDITORncameron@mashmedia.netSTRONGER PARTNERSHIPSt

newsClarion's Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition has reported total attendance of 29,112, up 16 per cent on its 2009 result. The seventh edition of the biennial event ran from 13 to 16 September and occupied all 100,000sqm at Excel London. It drew 1,391 exhibitors from 46 countries this year and was again positioned as the pre-eminent international show of land, sea and air weapons, displaying exhibits ranging from military frigates and tanks to missile guidance systems, remote airborne observation drones and water bottles. UK defence secretary Liam Fox used DSEi to promote the defence sector's positive impact on the UK's dwindling manufacturing sector, as well as the UK industry's significance on the world stage. Speaking at the exhibition almost 10 years to the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, and amid uprisings in the Middle East and north Africa, Fox told media that the need for DSEi has never been stronger. "We are all reminded, in the long shadow of 9/11, that security does not exist unless it is created," said Fox, addressing the audience for the first time in his role as defence secretary. "The Arab Spring shows just how quickly things can change from one region to another." The defence sector remains critical to British industry and is responsible for 110,000 jobs and sales of £22bn. Last year it accounted for export sales worth £9.5bn. The defence secretary also drew attention to the interdependence of the global arms market, long since departed from the "global polarity" that existed following the Second World War. He added that the sharing of military and defence equipment was key to achieving international security. The 2011 exhibition was event director Duncan Reid's first since leaving UBM to join Clarion. He claimed the cornerstone of his contribution was investment into stronger content and better support staff. Clarion has expanded the show's sales and marketing headcount to 20. "The investment into staff is about better relationships with our customer, making sure they know what is going on and what we're introducing to the show," said Reid. Among this year's new features was a football pitch-sized showcase of robotic and unmanned systems based around a foot patrol in Afghanistan. REID: DSEI 2011 pRovES bIggER anD bEttERbased on three themes: Innovation, security and unmanned systems. "It's worth the money as we want people to turn up, be inspired, see the investment we have made, learn while they're at the show then return next time," Reid continued.The need for an international marketplace also kept DSEi at the forefront of defence industry buyers and suppliers, he claimed. This year's exhibition had 30 international pavilions, up from 25 in concerns overshadow olympia's redevelopmentclosure of Earls Court, as reasons for why it was keeping the London International Wine Fair (LIWF) at Excel London. The comments were prompted by exhibitor speculation that the exhibition would return to a central London venue. In a statement, Brintex pointed out alternative central London options have become limited over the past few months. LIWF event director James Murray confirmed the next edition will take place at Excel in May 2012. "Bearing in mind the revelations about the future of Earl's Court and Olympia though, it's difficult to imagine how the show could develop at either location," he said. "The next best option would be The NEC, which we don't believe fits the show's profile." The uncertainty about Olympia's tube services lies in stark contrast to the venue's brighter future. Last month, venue owner Capital and Counties (CapCo) marked the final phase of Olympia's £20m The organiser of Pure London has postponed its Pure Close to season show to 2012 just two months after announcing the third exhibition brand to the market. MD of Pure London at emap steve newbold announced Pure Close to season as the Pure portfolio's third show in July. The exhibition was designed to meet increased market demand for short-order and mid-season products in the retail sector and was due to launch from 23 to 24 October at Olympia. This date would have seen the show positioned between Pure London and Pure spirit biannual events in August and February. Pure Close to season has now been postponed until 2012. In a statement, event director sarah Lawrence said the longer lead time would provide a more convenient timescale for exhibitors. no specific 2012 date has been set. 6 with a topping out ceremony. Councillor Greenhalgh welcomed Olympia's enhancement while admonishing TfL for abandoning the Olympia tube. He reiterated the importance of West London to the successful future of exhibitions and events in the UK. "Wimbledon has problems and services should be improved but not to the detriment of Olympia," he told EN. "Both services should be improved, rather than just removing one." ?P1Emap postponEs nEw purE london showour aim is to reach at least ?50m [£43.6m] in revenue by 2014 through organic growth and acquisition and we are on the right path to achieve that goal- EasyFairs CEO Jean-François Quentin discusses the organiser's ambitious expansion plans after reporting a 28 per cent increase in annual revenue for its 2010-2011 financial year. The company claimed bookings are already up by more than 15 per cent for the coming year.Excel's docks were also used to house five visiting warships including the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyer, which made its first visit to London, as well as for parachute and water-based demonstrations. Reid said he also delivered a fine dining restaurant with two Michelin star chefs, a vehicle display zone, UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) lounge and meetings area and better trade association presence. In addition, free seminars were introduced to DSEi 2011