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Trial and Error

SXSW: Assessing Attendance in Austin

March 16, 2009 3:08 PM

Before the South by Southwest festival kicked off late last week, conference organizers had predicted a 20% increase in attendance at the interactive portion of the festival. That’s the part of South by Southwest that attracts businesses, television networks, Web studios, Internet stars, agents and venture capitalists.

While the final attendance figures have not been released, and while I’m not convinced the show feels as big as it felt last year, I will say this: Everyone is here. Companies like Blip.tv, Boxee, Google, Microsoft, Next New Networks, Revision3, Digitas, PBS, CAA, ICM and all the successful (translation: money-making) Web stars are here.

Given all the slashed budgets, cutbacks and reports of lower attendance at industry events so far this year, my early report on SXSW is you can still find the people you need to talk to, interview and do business with here in Austin.

I’m betting that whether the show has a 0% or 20% increase in attendance, most attendees will walk away from this city with potential new deals in hand.


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