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Jupitermedia Takes On Comdex With Competing Show

2/04/2003 10:08:00 AM Eastern

New York - The stage has been set for a battle of the IT shows this fall with Jupitermedia announcing today that it will launch a trade show that will directly compete with the struggling Comdex/Fall.

Jupitermedia's Computer Digital Expo Fall 2003 is scheduled to run Nov. 17-21 at the new Mandalay Bay Convention Center, directly overlapping with Comdex/Fall 2003 that will take place from Nov. 15-20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Jupitermedia's announcement comes one day after Comdex organizer Key3Media Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Key3Media received $30 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Thomas Weisel Capital Partners (TWC) and said TWC will fund the company going forward through its reorganization, Key3Media reported. The funding will allow Key3Media to hold Comdex/Fall 2003 and other scheduled shows, said Frederic Rosen, chairman and CEO of Key3Media.

Alan Meckler, Jupitermedia's chairman and CEO, said the Computer Digital Expo was launched in direct response to Key3Media's filing. A second Computer Digital Expo is planned to run in the spring in Boston, although no dates were announced.

'The computer and IT industries require a dynamic exhibition and conference that covers the expansion of technology from computers to the numerous devices that are driving today's information technology and that is assured of being in place this November,' he said.

Rosen vociferously countered that Jupitermedia is incorrect if it thinks Comdex is on its last leg due to its' parent organization's financial problems.

'I can't take it [Computer Digital Expo] seriously,' he said, 'We think that now that Comdex is on a strong financial footing we will put on a strong show. The company is now stabilized and that will take the uncertainty out of the show.'

The new event will focus on next generation technology encompassing computers, portable devices and hosted services. Jupitermedia hopes to leverage its standing relationships with the IT community from its research arm Jupiter research and conferences.

Jupitermedia has wasted no time pouncing upon Comdex, which has suffered through two years of falling attendance.

At www.computerdigitalexpo.com there are several references to this show replacing the 'old Comdex' with statements like, 'Comdex week is now Computer Digital Expo week.'

Rosen defended every aspect of Comdex saying it is and will be a huge draw and has nothing to fear from any other show.

One indicator that Jupitermedia, which owns Jupiter Research and Internet.com, expects its show to be around a few years is that its asking potential exhibitors to lock in rates for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 shows. The floor space rate is $44.95 per square foot and exhibition space of 400 square feet or more includes hard-walled office space at no additional cost. Key3Media is charging $15 more per square foot.

As of Feb. 4 only two exhibitors were signed up: Jupiter Research and Internet.com.