Economy Blamed for Lackluster Seybold
It should be noted that Seybold Boston isn't the only show this year that has experienced a downturn in attendance. Exhibitors have also reported lower-than-usual turnouts at On Demand in New York City, as well as The Charlotte Show.
Even so, perhaps the most talked about exhibitor at Seybold Boston was none other than Mercedes-Benz, which was the second largest exhibitor behind Adobe. The luxury car manufacturer's presence at the show puzzled many. However, Gable urged others not to read too much into the Mercedes-Benz exhibit.
Mercedes-Benz is a corporate sponsor for the Key3Media Group, which runs Seybold and other shows such as Comdex and JavaOne. As part of the deal with Key3Media, Mercedes was given the same amount of floor space for every Key3Media show. Seybold Boston is the smallest show that Key3Media sponsors, so it naturally made more of an impression than it should have, Gable notes.
While the lack of attendance was certainly the talk of Seybold Boston, many exhibitors also lamented the show's movement away from the commercial printing market.
Gable takes issue with the perception that Seybold has abandoned commercial printing. Instead, he claims that Seybold has always been about the content management market. "We aren't about ink and water or polymer plates; that isn't our business. When imagesetters came on the scene, there was a blurring of the lines between what belonged at Graph Expo and what belonged at Seybold. At the time, we weren't sure where the technology was going to end up. As technology has matured and we've moved into platesetters, those blurred lines have begun to clear."
Still, what remains to be seen is whether or not Seybold Boston is an early indicator of a more subdued Seybold San Francisco show coming this September. The San Francisco event, long considered the stronger of the two shows, was a huge success for Key3Media last year.