ShowEast '08 hasn't been a must-see

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The trade show floor at exhibition confabs like ShowEast tend to be dominated as much by tech displays as popcorn and candy vendors these days.

Gloomily, floor traffic appears down at both this year. Vendors blame economy-slackened show attendance and competition from off-site movie screenings.

At one point Wednesday — the second day of operations on the trade show floor — staff at a huge Sony Electronics booth outnumbered customers by about 6-to-1.

The situation elsewhere on the floor wasn't much better.

"It's not been very good," said Brian Stuckelman of Dale & Thomas Popcorn, which is pushing a new chocolate-covered popcorn. "The economy doesn't help."

Ray Estrada of Blair Communications, a Dallas-based marketer of two-way radios for theaters and movie sets, also cited recessionary cost-cutting at entertainment firms.

On the flip side, there's D-Box, a Montreal-based manufacturer of motion-simulation systems for movie theaters. Traffic was so good for its product demos that staffers were taking seating reservations.

"We're pushing people away," D-Box's Guy Marcoux said.

Meanwhile, RealD and Sony Electronics announced a new product partnership Wednesday, through which RealD's 3-D equipment will be more easily integrated into Sony's digital projection systems. And Korean manufacturer MasterImage drew a good response from its special morning demo of its portable 3-D system. (partialdiff)
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