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Jupitermedia Takes On Comdex

2/07/2003 01:21:00 PM Eastern

New York - The stage has been set for a battle of the IT shows this fall with Jupitermedia announcing last week 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.

'Comdex is a broken show both financially and philosophically,' he said, adding he is operating under the assumption that Comdex will not take place and those that would attend it will come to the Jupitermedia show.

Meckler expects 75,000 attendees even if Comdex takes place and 125,000 if it doesn't. It will have the same business-to-business mission as Comdex, but with a good mix of consumer product, he added.

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 [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 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 under contract, Jupiter Research and Internet.com.

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