April 21, 2009

NAB attendance down significantly

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The south hall of NAB 2009 shows some life on Monday. Photo: Dak Dillon/NewscastStudio

According to preliminary figures released by NAB, attendance for this year’s show was down by more than 20,000 people.

The 2009 show attracted 83,842 attendees, compared to the 105,259 who made the trek to Las Vegas in 2008.

“With two days remaining, the NAB Show has been a phenomenal success by any measure in an otherwise challenging economy,” spun NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton in a statement.

Foot traffic on the show floor was noticeably lighter, though peak periods still had heavy demand. Booth sizes of several key companies was reduced from last year as well, though many stayed the same.

The attendance slump was more noticeable at RTNDA@NAB from both an attendee and exhibitor standpoint. Stephen Arnold Music opted out of the show this year, leaving a significant hole on the show floor since it traditionally occupied one of the largest slots at the show. Also absent was set design firm Inergi.

RTNDA has not released attendance figures as of this writing, though its 2008 numbers were down from 2007. According to TVWeek, Barbara Cochran, RTNDA’s outgoing president, said 2008 saw 775 attendees down from 2007′s 1,000. Cochran declined to make a prediction on the 2009 numbers, though did acknowledge attendance will likely be down.

The news industry has undoubtably been hit hard by the recession and the attendance figures reflect that. While NAB has the advantage of drawing attendees from areas outside of news, RTNDA@NAB relies very heavily on that market. So, while NAB attendees and exhibitors are also suffering from cutbacks, there is still a much larger pool to draw from.

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  • Anonymous

    What is the difference between NAB and RTNDA@NAB?

    • Michael P. Hill

      @Anonymous NAB Show is presented the National Association of Broadcasters and is the largest electronic media show in the world. RTNDA@NAB is a separate convention put on by the Radio-Television News Directors Association. They used to hold their convention separately from NAB (in a different location and time) but several years back they decided to combine it with NAB. RTNDA@NAB is held in the Hilton Pavilion next to the convention center and has its own exhibitors, program and sessions, though there is some cross-promotion and registration between the two.