March 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   TRADE SHOW VETERANS SEE OPPORTUNITY IN KEY3MEDIA BANKRUPTCY

Competitors Vie For Comdex Space

Talking tech: A keynote panel at last year’s Comdex show
Talking tech: A keynote panel at last year’s Comdex show Bankrupt Los Angeles-based trade show producer Key3Media Group is striving to rebuild its flagship Comdex computer show. But the beleaguered firm has more to contend with than just an anemic tech sector: It has competition.

Two parties have rolled out plans to enter the computer-show fray. Jupitermedia, a Darien, Conn.-based tech communications company, plans to hold its new Computer Digital Expo in Las Vegas this November on the same dates as Comdex.

“We believe our show will get out of the box so quickly that Comdex won’t run,” said Alan Meckler, CEO of Jupitermedia and founder of the Internet World show.

Despite Jupiter’s inexperience with mega-shows its largest event draws around 4,500 Meckler believes his background, plus Key3’s financial troubles, will help him. “We believe the bankruptcy will be crippling,” he said. “We didn’t go into this thinking that Comdex will still be running.”

But is Jupiter writing off Comdex too soon? “Bankruptcy is not the kiss of death it used to be,” said Steven Hacker, president of the Dallas-based International Association for Exhibition Management. “You can fly to Vegas on a bankrupt airline and stay in a bankrupt hotel. I don’t see the problem here.”

In fact, Key3 chairman and CEO Fredric Rosen said he expects to emerge from bankruptcy in just 90 days, long before Comdex 2003.

Another possible contender for the computer show market is Sheldon Adelson, who founded Comdex 24 years ago. Adelson is chairman of Las Vegas Sands Inc., owner of the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Sands president Richard Heller said, “We’re looking at the opportunity to start a show in ’03,” although he declined to reveal details. The vagueness and timing of this news around the time of Key3’s January bankruptcy filing led some at Key3 to suspect that the intent is not to create a new show but rather to buy back Comdex.

Meanwhile, Key3’s Rosen is reaching out to longstanding clients. “We’ve lived through a difficult 60 days,” he said. “Now we need to get everybody back to selling, so people know we’ll be here.”

Added IAEM’s Hacker, “The Comdex brand is still substantial, and anyone who underestimates that fact is making a grave mistake.”


What Association Executives Earn The gender gap in earnings grows in relation to size of organization, according to a 2001 compensation survey. Male CEOs Female CEOs Trade association $136,775 $92,125 Individual membership association $139,241 $85,204 Total staff size: 2 or fewer $75,000 $60,000 3 to 5 $95,640 $77,000 6 to 10 $116,550 $108,000 11 to 20 $138,200 $126,000 21 to 50 $201,923 $159,280 51 to 100 $237,900 $145,518 More than 100 $287,600 $249,233 Total annual budget: $300,000 or less $67,600 $54,789 $300,001 to $500,000 $75,600 $68,579 $500,001 to $750,000 $90,000 $72,800 $750,001 to $1 million $102,000 $87,525 $1,000,001 to $2.5 million $118,800 $112,425 $2,500,001 to $5 million $170,000 $137,100 $5,000,001 to $10 million $227,750 $160,585 $10,000,001 to $15 million $225,994 $171,750 More than $15 million $285,000 $256,269 Source: American Society of Association Executives

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