These concepts are still in their infancy, but professionals creating the products consider them part of a trend that is developing quickly.
The Trade Show Exhibitors Association will do a Webcast of its Trade Show About Trade Shows from San Francisco this month. TSEA VP Michael Bandy said this is the first time the organization is presenting its show on the Internet. He plans to use the Webcast to help promote next year's show.
Trade Show Central, Wellesley, Mass., will produce TSEA's Webcast. The company, with a staff of 25, operates a broadcast center that features Internet presentations of shows.
After a show, Trade Show Central creates an archive of the presentations and broadcasts them on its Web site which can link to exhibitors' sites.
Broadcasting shows on the Internet is a trend with "explosive growth," said Irwin Grossman, Trade Show Central VP-sales and marketing. He predicted Webcasts will increase the number of attendees at shows because Webcast viewers will see what was at the show and want to go see it in person.
Since producing its first Webcast about a year ago, Trade Show Central has developed Webcasts for nearly 30 clients. A few of those clients also wanted a CD-ROM of their show. So far, the Internet clients tend to be in the high-tech industries.
Long live shows
Internet broadcasts are a "very powerful tool," Mr. Grossman said. Webcasts extend the life of the show and can be integrated into an exhibitor's sales and marketing program. He favors Webcasts rather than CD-ROMs because exhibitors can do live broadcasts and change content quickly to keep information up to date.
Trade Show Central's charges for producing a Webcast typically range from $3,000 to $20,000, Mr. Grossman said. The cost increases when a client wants extensive live coverage.
BlueDot Software in San Francisco has teamed with Seattle-based RealNetworks to provide audio and video broadcasting services for the Internet. Among other things, they present show activities and information on the Internet, a service that is "really booming right now," said Shannon Davies, a BlueDot account executive.
BlueDot has worked with 27 associations to present Internet shows. Ms. Davies said most new clients want to keep their show information on the Web for a year.
Some companies prefer to capture their shows solely on CD-ROM. A New York-based marketing communications agency, the.NAK.group, recently created its first ShowCD for Heidelberg USA, Kennesaw, Ga., which markets graphic arts equipment. The CD is an interactive tour of Heidelberg's pavilion at a show.
ShowCDs combine audio effects, video, still photography and digital graphics from a show exhibit or group of exhibits.
Thaddeus Kubis, president and creative director of the.NAK.group, said his company is negotiating with 12 potential clients for the ShowCD. The interested companies represent industries such as commercial aircraft, food manufacturing and farm equipment.