UK trade backs Advanstar's Vegas show

Execs say industry is not big enough to support two US events.
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UK licensing executives have told Licensing.biz that the industry needs to carefully consider the bigger picture before supporting a New York show.

They argue that the business isn't big enough to back two US events and there is a fear that a second show could lead to the decline of both.

Last week, a company called Trade Show Events announced plans for a show in New York in April 2010, called The New York Licensing Show. Advanstar - organiser of Licensing International Expo - has since taken legal advice over the firm's use of the name.

For UK companies, choosing which show to support or finding budget to attend both, and the impact two US events could possibly have on Brand Licensing Europe, are all major concerns.

"The proposal to stage a new licensing show in New York is an incredibly dangerous one," said Janet Woodward, head of licensing at Coolabi. "At best, it imposes on would-be exhibitors the dilemma of choosing one show to support - Licensing International or the new show - or finding the wherewithal to exhibit at both. In today's climate that is a ridiculous situation to be in, especially for overseas visitors.

"At worst, however, it has the potential to split the industry, leaving us with not only an East Coast/West Coast divide, but also a North America and Europe/South America, Asia and the Pacific Rim divide. And even, in the longer term, a situation where the two groups never come together."

Charlie Donaldson, joint managing director of Rocket Licensing, agreed, adding: "We need really powerful showcase events to speak for our industry and I think splitting resources between two US shows, two months apart, is a mistake."

Andrew Carley, head of E1 Entertainment's licensing division, feels the same way, adding that it is a shame the industry isn't able to accept the change in venue to Las Vegas for Licensing International and support it. "I don't think the industry is big enough to support two shows and there is a danger it will lead to the decline of both," he told Licensing.biz.

A number of execs contacted by Licensing.biz pointed out Advanstar's success in rejuvenating both Licensing International and BLE in recent years, saying it has supported the industry well.

"I have to say that Advanstar has done a terrific job in rejuvenating the licensing shows on both sides of the Atlantic and, therefore, I think it will be tough for any show to compete with the current schedule," offered Jon Owen, VP of consumer products EMEA at Hit Entertainment.

Coolabi's Woodward added: "Advanstar has served the licensing industry well for many years and they should be given the chance to make the move to Vegas a success."

However, Hakan Durdag from ELC, points out that this could be the ideal chance to make Brand Licensing Europe the centre piece of the international trade fairs.

Do you have a view on Las Vegas versus New York? Do you agree with execs quoted in this story? Join the debate by posting a comment in the box below or email Samantha Loveday.

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