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Trial and Error

Ad:Tech Defies Downward Attendance Trend

April 24, 2009 11:00 AM

This year the media conference business has been witnessing a 20% drop in attendance across the board. That’s about what the NAB Show, the Consumer Electronics Show and the Cable Show all saw.

So when I heard from Ad:Tech that its just-concluded Ad:Tech San Francisco conference defied that trend and saw only a 10% dip in attendance, I was delighted. I also wanted to know the reasons why.

The show, held earlier this week in San Francisco, featured keynoters such as Jason Kilar of Hulu, Kevin Rose of Diggnation and Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. (And me as a moderator, but we know I’m not the reason for the good turnout!)

“We certainly did some discounting, which was necessary and, I think it’s fair to say, helped stimulate the demand. I would also say that our content was as strong as ever,” said Drew Ianni, the chair of programming for Ad:Tech.

Big discounts can shave the revenue more than the drop in attendance does. Even so, you need to be innovative in these tougher times and find creative ways to win customers, clients and attendees, even if that means lowering your prices. Who isn’t offering a recession special these days? And if by offering lowering rates, you can beat the market—with a 10% rather than a 20% dip—that’s all the better.

“In addition to six strong keynotes, including keynotes from Jimmy Wales, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, Digg founder Kevin Rose and Ogilvy Vice Chairman Steve Hayden, we really packed it in over the three days,” Ianni said. “We partnered with Danny Sullivan for our Search content and launched two new mini-shows within Ad:Tech San Francisco, including ADSPACE, which focused on SME publishers and sellers, and Mobile Mix which consolidated our mobile programming to focus exclusively on mobile. We think all of this combined contributed to the strong turnout.”

Did you make it to the show? If so, what did you think?


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Comments (2)

Do you think they count all the free Expo Hall passes as part of the attendance numbers or just the full paid badges?

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