Drupa reaches out to cross media

Drupa 2012 ©Nessan Cleary.
Drupa 2012 ©Nessan Cleary.

Ye Gods, is it really time to start thinking about Drupa? 

Apparently so – the show may be two years away but I’m already starting to get press releases on how the organisers are re-positioning Drupa. Then again, I bumped into a team from Drupa at the last Ipex, and given how that show turned out, perhaps they are right to start rethinking the whole concept now.

The idea is that Drupa will be relaunched, according to the press release, “with a substantially reviewed nomenclatura and a new key signifier.” I havn’t a clue what that means, though it comes with a new slogan – touch the future – which suggests that the organisers aren’t too sure either.

Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO Messe Düsseldorf, says that the show is being repositioned to react to new technologies such as functional printing, printed electronics and 3D printing, as well as applications and solutions in the area of digital printing, package and label printing plus the industrial production segment, noting: “It is precisely on these areas that the Drupa’s structural realignment and repositioning measures are focused, highlighting the industry’s innovative strength.”

So far so good, but it seems that Drupa 2016 will stand for ‘Print & Crossmedia Solutions’, which is a hard sell as the Ipex organisers found to their cost. But the team behind Drupa have declared that the main market issues are package printing including digital label printing, multichannel publishing and green printing – all things quite well catered for by other, more specialised shows. But perhaps collecting all these things together into one space will make a difference – certainly Drupa is one of the few shows that has the scale to pull off such a thing.

The real question is, of course, what is the point of a trade show? It used to be to help buyers and sellers find each other, hardly something we need to worry about in today’s Google-enhanced world. I suspect nowadays the demand is about finding new applications without having to invest a fortune. It’s all very well showing new technologies, but they have to be shown in the context of new applications and revenue streams if visitors are to be persuaded to invest time and money in attending. And I think that needs a great deal more than organising a few seminars.

In the meantime the Drupa organisers have sent invitations to international exhibitors, with a digital registration form available on-line at www.drupa.de until 31 October, 2014.

Just in case you’re wondering – the next Drupa takes place from 31 May to 10 June 2016 at Messe Dusseldorf.

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