Partnering on the rise

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Business media companies are increasingly partnering with each other to produce new events or to co-locate existing ones.

ALM Events has two new partnership projects in various stages. This week, together with Reed Exhibitions, it is debuting "Design Piracy: Protecting Your Products." The show, being held in New York, is designed to attract retail and manufacturing executives, research and development professionals, safety and health managers, design entrepreneurs, importers and exporters.

Henry Payne Dicker, VP-director of ALM Events, said the arrangement has the potential to both save money and expand the roster of exhibitors and sponsors, making it attractive to both parties. "Partnerships are all about controlling costs," Dicker said.

Media companies typically partner with associations and affiliates to drive attendance and, in turn, revenue for conferences. In some cases, they acquire an event to achieve the same goal.

This latest twist is a bid to draw on the strengths of normally competitive event producers that have some audience overlap-but no overlap in sponsors and exhibitors-to produce a new event that leverages the strengths of both.

"Let's take events that are already successful and make them more successful by creating a new event," Dicker said.

ALM Events is also co-producing a one-day event with McGraw-Hill Cos.' ENR in October that will cover various issues in construction law. The event targets executives at contracting and subcontracting companies, as well as attorneys and professional services companies that work with them. Major sponsorships and tabletop exhibits will be sold.

"We're both taking on 50% of what one company would do," Dicker said. That includes working together on marketing and operations. Also, editors from American Lawyer and ENR are conferring on topics to be covered and will participate in panel discussions.

ALM said some sponsorships have been secured for the inaugural event but declined to name them. The partners have gleaned the names of more than 1,000 people from their respective databases to invite to the one-day event.

ALM's Dicker said the success of these partnerships could lead to ventures with other publications. "We're just talking about one vertical," he said. "Each [publisher] has maybe 30 or 40 different verticals. My charge is to grow the business and foster organic and inorganic growth."

There are other examples of media companies banding together to co-locate events.

Reed Exhibitions teamed up with George Little Management, an event marketing company, to co-locate two of their Las Vegas events last month. The GLM Gourmet Products Show and Reed Exhibitions' National Hardware Show had about 2,800 gourmet housewares and home improvement products exhibitors co-located in about 650,000 square feet of floor space.

"This cooperative agreement between GLM and Reed creates an unprecedented relationship between two of the world's leading trade show management companies for the benefit of their individual constituencies," said Chet Burchett, president of Reed Exhibitions, in a statement.

Last October, Diversified Business Communications co-located three of its own shows for the first time, with the desired formula of some attendance overlap and no exhibitor overlap. All Asia Food Expo, the new event, encompassed both the Kosher and Latin food shows.

It was far less risky financially for DBC to launch the All Asia Food Expo with the existing two shows. As H. Stephen Phillips, show director of Expo Comida Latina and All Asia Food Expo, told BtoB at the time, "We leveraged our relationship with customers through the pre-existing event, co-wrote operational costs and we were able to come out with all the bells and whistles, and a guaranteed visitor base. That's what made the difference." 

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