Our View of Screen Expo Europe

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

I think that those who visited Screen Expo Europe last week will agree that it has grown tremendously and is now much improved over the very first event held 3 years ago.

First impressions of the show when walking in, was “wow, this looks big” – Mark Pigou was clever in the way that the Retail Business Show and Screen Expo Europe shared space. One of the first things that visitors saw was brands like Paypal, Oracle and Sun Micrososystems – all things that we think made visitors stand up (okay they were walking in so already standing up) and pay attention.

Our team thought that Olympia was a better venue for it than Earls Court and we would be keen to see it held at Olympia again.

As reported previously here and anecdotally by many exhibitors at the show, the cross over traffic from the Retail side to Screen Expo was high – which only helped the stands. We personally saw folks from Woolworths, Marks and Spencers, IKEA and the Co-Operative visiting Screen Expo stands – a big improvement over previous years.


Broadsign had the most prominent stand and as title sponsor it was I think important that they did and it was obvious that not only did they spend a lot of money, they also put a lot of effort and a lot of passion went into the event as well. A couple of folks thought Broadsign’s stand a little over the top but we liked it a lot, the meeting room on the stands’ first floor was great, they had more than enough employees to cover the stand and speak to visitors etc. – all in all a very good effort.

Broadsign were probably the only major signage player not at ISE this year so that and the fact that they were title sponsor would have meant that they tried harder than many others (we think).

Scala’s stand looked good, so too did EnQii’s. Cisco weren’t present here (but were in Amsterdam). Probably our second favourite stand though was that of Esprit Digital’s. We think they had a good location on the floor and showcased their products to good effect.

We think that Broadsign deserve a solid round of applause from the industry for stepping up to the plate and agreeing to be title sponsor and all that it involved.

Downstairs was very busy

The main hall (downstairs) seemed incredibly busy and we would be surprised if any of the exhibitors would have been generally unhappy.

Jeff Collard, President at Omnivex told us “We had a very modest booth at ScreenExpo but were quite impressed with the number and quality of people that we met with. We had 6 or 7 people on our end working the show and they were all busy from start to finish so we are very happy with the show and plan to be back next year.”

He added “Although we do a significant amount of business in Europe, this is the first time that we have done a trade show here and plan to do more in the future”.

We did notice that on the first day when the show was to close at 17:00, people traffic seemed to drop off quickly just after 16:00 and by 16:30 exhibitors and attendees (who were left) were starting to have a drink and get ready for the after show party (no problem with that). The socialising and networking aspects of the show seemed to work really well.


One exhibitor who didn’t want to be named said that “despite not having as good a position as I did in 2005 I was genuinely impressed by the quality of the average visitor we had …. we walked away with over 60 quality leads”.

When we asked other folks about leads they all said the same thing – that most of them came from India, Dubai, France, Brussels, Sweden, Spain and Ireland.

For those exhibitors showing products for the High Impact sector, we personally met and saw many of the key folks from the major outdoor advertising folks; Don Sperring had most of his regional JC Decaux folks with him, JC Decaux representatives from Finland were there as well as Clear Channel folks from Scandinavia also and many others.


Upstairs definitely did not have as much traffic as the main exhibition hall and if it weren’t for the Theatre’s good attendance it may have been ‘deathly’ quiet.

We are not sure that upstairs really worked. The Content guys and Network Owner’s Pavilion weren’t really integrated into the rest of the show (it seemed to us at least). One visitor said to us “If I hadn’t bumped into Neil Morris (Grand Visual) I would have walked past the content gallery without realising what it was”.

He added “Got a nice massage though” – we assume that the massage was not from Neill!

The Network Owner’s Pavilion and the Content stuff is what can really start to set Screen Expo Europe apart from all the other (pure signage if you like) shows in Europe and so the positioning of their stands and their (full) integration into the show may need to be addressed next year.

Anyway, it was really great to see the likes of IMTV, i-vu, Matchday Media, Mood Media, Pharmacy Channel etc. etc. taking part.


Do the presentation theatres work? Again, we are in two minds about this.

They are FREE which is good.

Dragging people off the show floor to listen to a presentation sounds like a good idea, but we are never sure of the audience’s motivation or attention span?

Also the way the presentation areas were split meant that it was impossible to listen to those you really wanted to if their speaking times conflicted.

There were a lot of really good presentations but also a couple of bad ones – usually from the vendors who didn’t understand the difference between ‘educating’ their audience and ‘selling’ to their audience.

The presentation aspect of the show – whilst incredibly important – may need a re-think next year.


To summarise just a couple of final points…

A 2 day show cannot afford to have a ‘bad’ or an ‘off’ day when it comes to attendance (Screen Expo didn’t but traffic on both days decreased 30 – 45 minutes before closing time). We think Screen Expo should think about being a 3 day show next year – and YES it gives us more time for ‘networking’ also 😉

ISE and Screen Expo are too close together. Screen Expo had just the one big screen from Daktronics (congratulations again on the JC Decaux win guys) because it was practically physically impossible to get any others from Amsterdam to London in time). The closeness of the two events may have affected footfall slightly at the latter also but we are not sure.

We think that Screen Expo should move a bit later in the year – April or maybe May. Remember that many of the exhibitors at ISE and Screen Expo may have spent 90% of their yearly marketing budget in the first 6 weeks of the year!!!

Bizarrely for a UK based event, Screen Expo Europe is incredibly international. London isn’t the best or most glamorous place to fly in and out of (and isn’t cheap to stay in either) and Mark Pigou and his team should win some form of award for making the event (a) so continental and (b) so international in flavour and get some recognition from Ken Livingstone for doing so as well!!

Roll on next year!!

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