Pay To Speak In The Middle East

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

The organisers of Middle East summits in our industry are fast becoming as notorious it seems as the wonderfully benevolent families that tend to rule their countries as it looks to us like the Digital Signage Middle East Summit 2011 scheduled for 18-19th April 2011 (with Interactive Workshops the day before and the day after) maybe heading in the same direction as the non-event that was SIM in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Three of the speakers lined up to speak have contacted us in the last few weeks telling us that the organisers have asked them to pay to speak – this isn’t some sort of after-thought sponsorship effort either – all who contacted us were told in no uncertain terms “pay or you cannot speak”.

The industry in the region is either going to have an event where only the folks who open their chequebooks will be taking the stage or will have no event at all.

Our guess is that unless the summit secures some (additional) sponsorship it will not happen.

7 Responses to “Pay To Speak In The Middle East”

  1. Natasha Hatherall Says:

    This is a real shame as our region desperately needs a good quality event. Our sector is growing fast, but so far there are very few forums for industry people to get together, to learn from others globally and to share experiences, which will ultimately benefit us all. We had hoped that this event would fill a gap that SIM so far hadn’t managed to.

    From our side (Al Barq Digital), we are currently on the agenda and have been assured we do not have to pay and I believe the same is true of OVAB Europe. However, we have heard from other (now ex) speakers that they were asked to pay and of course we would not want to be part of something that operates under such practices. Our talks continue with the organisers to better understand what is going on.

    We know this is a gap our region desperately needs to fill, so we’re already working closely with OVAB Europe to plan a new forum/ event to fill this gap later in 2011, as well as a more regular series of smaller member event. So we will keep you posted on that and we hope we can finally organise something great that international industry people want to attend and benefit from doing so.

  2. Chris Heap Says:

    Screenmedia expo’s educations programmes are a meritocracy.

    If you have something interesting to say that moves our collective thinking forwards within the framework of the programme’s we’ve developed then we’ll give you a slot based solely on the value that a presentation would deliver, regardless of whether you represent a small business with a great idea or a conglomerate with a new report to share.

    Of course we ask speakers to jump through a few hoops to ensure what they say they’ll deliver will be and we quality control the output which means we can make the programme IP rich, without the sell.

    For example, this year we have Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) flying over from the U.S to keynote in the “Exploiting Digital” track and present a new way of measuring DOOH in the Professionals Conference. We asked them to join us because they are on the cutting edge of some very interesting thinking, not because we wanted them to pay.

    Ultimately what matters is that forums such as this should take responsibility for demonstrating a degree of subject matter leadership for its clients (sponsors and booth purchasers) and visitors from within the industry and outside (i.e. new customers).

    If new thinking makes events “sticky” then surely it’s in their interest to go for substance rather than sales (as the former will generate the latter). I’d put this move down to a general lack of vision.

  3. lmmd Says:

    sounds to me like a lack of $$ in your pocket

  4. G de La Tour /BlueFox Says:

    Adrian is right,

    They asked me at first: “pay to speak” so i say “sorry that doesn ‘t interest me”. But one day after, they proposed me to speak with out paying.

  5. Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief Says:

    lmmd (if that was a barb and directed at me) we ONLY speak when we are paid – so complete opposite of what’s happening here! Since we ran this story we have been told by two speakers that they have pulled out of the event completely. Sad to say but this event may be over before it’s even started.

  6. lmmd Says:

    Adrian! never a barb at you! it was a barb at chris heap – there’s no excuse to invite speakers and then ask them to pay. If their value is so little that they have to pay to be showcased, they should never have been invited in the first place! These conferences are not and should not be designed solely for the sponsors to make money off the speakers.

  7. Chris Heap Says:

    Immd, you’ve misinterpreted what I was saying.

    The point of my comment was to say that events such as this should NOT seek payment from speakers and that speaking should ONLY be based on the value and merit of the subject matter/presentation content they are proposing to cover.

    That Screenmedia expo does not seek payment for speakers is indicative of this perspective – that providing platforms for speakers is based on merit, not on commercial support.

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