Tradeshows may not be such prominent events as festivals and large stageshows, but their economical impact is huge. Exhibitions are the place where suppliers renew contacts with the demand side. The moment when they demonstrate their new products and show the latest innovations.
Corona has had a devastating effect on the tradeshow industry. Many exhibition organizers might not resurface after the current lockdown. But those who do plan to survive, how do they keep their brand (and timeslot) alive?
October is the month when publishers, authors and agents travel to Germany. There is no better mess than the Frankfurter Buchmesse! It is the place where up and coming writers are introduced, new titles are shown, fresh trends are launched. Has been since the 12th century. But in 2020 the world is a different place. How does the publishing eco-system react?
Frankfurter Buchmesse brings the international publishing industry and its several creative offsprings together in 2020 under a new virtual roof. This year the tradeshow aims to be both a real marketplace and a digital festival at the same time, a hybrid tradeshow – if the circumstances are safe.
This hybrid Buchmesse is a showpiece for Neustart Kultur, a one billion euro rescue fund brought together by the German national government. Part of that support package are so-called Hygienkonzepten for theaters, cinema’s, clubs and events. That allows them to open their doors for smaller audiences. Buchmesse got 4 million euro from Neustart Kultur to develop virtual extensions.
What digital tradeshow can we expect? On workdays Buchmesse 2020 will include a five-day cloud conference with presentations, discussions and Q&A sessions with authors, publishers and experts. A digital live program, accessible from all over the world. Part of this set-up is the Blue Sofa, a talkshow with authors that is supported by several German TV- and radiochannels.
Another part is Bookfest. This is what happens in the town of Frankfurt, in the pubs and restaurants when the tradefloor is closed. But Bookfest also refers to the following Saturday that is reserved for a day-long online celebration including several artist performances.
Keep it on the calendar
The actual Buchmesse would bring some 250,000 to 300,000 people to Frankfurt, not only professionals. In 2020 that will be substantially less, due to travel restrictions and limited gatherings. But reckoned with the wider reach of TV-channels and the internet, more people might be involved than before – even if only for half an hour. So a hybrid Buchmesse could be a format with future potential, at least partly. But for the tradeshow it is also important that the tradition simply continues. Uninterrupted.
Buchmesse needs to keep its reputation as center-stage for the book business alive. It wants the brand to survive. Buchmesse ensures that its week in October remains on the calendar. And the event organizers use this momentum (and some Reichs-funding) to extend their reach worldwide via radio-, TV- and online channels. That is how Buchmesse tries to overcome Corona. Gain strength through adversity.