By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS – PMA will turn the spotlight on a host of new advances in photography, including wireless connectivity, social networking and the rapid emergence of mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs), at 2013 PMA@CES, which this year moves from the Sands Convention Center to the LVH – formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton.
Jim Esp, PMA executive director, said the change of locations will bring PMA@CES 2013’s exhibit space closer to the central halls of the show – where a number of large imaging companies have traditionally maintained exhibit space – while at the same time providing more room to accommodate the show’s swelling ranks.
Last year’s first-ever PMA@CES drew 174 companies to the dedicated exhibit area, for a total of more than 600 companies with digital imaging/photography ties presenting throughout 2012 International CES.
This year, PMA@CES is on course to surpass the more than 20,000 attendees (more than 22 percent of whom were from outside the U.S.) who indicated an interest in digital imaging. As of Nov. 20, 19,000 attendees had already pre-registered as coming to CES for digital imaging, Esp said.
This year’s pre-show activities also have been expanded to offer more education sessions during the affiliated Digital Imaging Marketing Association’s (DIMA) 2013 preshow conference, which takes place in the days immediately prior to the start of International CES. The 2013 sessions have an added focus on future advances in imaging.
Also added to the pre-show activities is the Professional School Photographers Association and Sports Photographers Association of America’s PSPA/SPAA 2013 Conference, being staged in conjunction with the DIMA Conference.
This year, PMA is offering attendees the option of an All Conference Pass, affording access to any educational session, regardless of the conference they originally registered for.
“Having the conferences for all these groups together in one place offers attendees more learning opportunities to help them grow their market share and increase their profitability,” Esp told TWICE. “It also brings a much larger group of photo and imaging buyers to the trade show floor, for the benefit of our exhibitors.”
Also new this year is a second Official Business Session (OBS) during PMA@CES. In addition to the PMA’s Young Guns Part 2 OBS, a follow-up from last year, the second OBS will feature a panel of top executives and industry leaders to discuss where the industry is headed.
Key themes of this year’s show will include the rapidly growing social-imaging phenomenon, which PMA is embracing by offering sessions with experts who will teach attendees how to build their businesses with Pinterest and other sites. Other sessions will explain how to turn the massive number of people capturing mobile images into buyers of photo products, Esp said.
He added, “Consumers are rediscovering the value of the printed image – whether it’s printed on paper or on any other item. Photo gifting is taking on even greater importance than memory preservation.”
Imaging retailers should also be enlightened at a Retailer Hot Picks session, where dealers from across the globe will share their picks for the most valuable product they find on the floors.
The relatively new development of Wi-Fi and cell service integration into dedicated digital cameras will also be explored.
To foster greater immediacy in digital picture taking, Esp said PMA’s members continue to work with cellular service providers for enhancing mobile image printing apps, while a number of camera manufacturers showcase new products that incorporate Wi-Fi, to help consumers easily make prints directly from their cameras.
Esp said, “PMA is working with various suppliers to support wireless development and foster the generation of new and larger revenue streams for imaging businesses.”
Concerning how PMA@CES 2013 will help the imaging industry’s business outlook for the new year, Esp said he sees “a more positive direction” ahead. “While pointand- shoot cameras are declining in favor of smartphones and other mobile devices, the excitement around ILCs and DSLRs is very promising for camera makers,” he continued. “The line continues to blur between ‘dumb cameras’ and ‘smartphones,’ leading to the next generation of connected ‘smart cameras.’ ”
Also, as part of PMA@CES 2013, three of the largest imaging buying groups — Independent Photo Imagers (IPI), Foto Source Canada, and the Photographic Research Organization (PRO) — will hold member meetings.
PRO will hold four days of meetings at Bally’s Las Vegas beginning Wednesday, Jan. 9, and running through Saturday, Jan. 12. The meetings are to help PRO members an affiliates navigate the show floor, and to highlight key vendors at PMA@CES and International CES.
IPI, North America’s largest buying group for photo service specialty retailers, and Foto Source, the largest photo buying group in Canada, will also hold a meeting for members and prospective members. The two allied buying groups, representing more than 1,000 storefronts in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, will meet to discuss new updates to the IPI Marketing Solutions Program for 2013 to help members increase their sales.
“The imaging industry has a bright future ahead, and we are fully dedicated to supporting its growth,” said Esp. “We look forward to helping PMA@CES attendees take their businesses to a new level of success in the coming year, by providing unparalleled learning opportunities and the most innovative digital imaging exhibitors on our trade show floor.”
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.