Jason E. Chudnofsky, president and CEO of ZD Events (producer of Comdex) in Needham, Mass., once said that he would worry about the impact of the Internet on live trade shows when the virtual honeymoon had replaced the real thing. During his speech at the recent Society of Independent Show Organizers (SIS0) Executive Conference in Houston, Chudnofsky admitted he has changed his mind.
"If you don't embrace the Internet--this new, tremendous asset--it will become a competitor to you, and your shows will become dinosaurs," he said in a post-speech interview.
Chudnofsky says that 72 percent of ZD Event attendees now register online for shows. But that's not happening by magic. "Everything we do drives people to our Web site," he says.
This year, he adds, Comdex will reach more people via video-streaming, enabling at-home attendees to watch Comdex events on their computers. As to the concern that virtual events will draw audiences away from live shows, Chudnofsky believes the opposite is true, "We will reach an audience that has never seen Comdex before. This will increase our brand and encourage more people to come."
SISO is taking Chudnofsky's message to heart. On May 21, it will offer an Internet Conference in New York City. It's for members only, but you can take advantage of SISO's Internet-savvy by listening to Chudnofsky's keynote address at ww2.tscentral.com/webcasts/content/siso_031099.