Primedia plans 3D event

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Primedia Business Magazines & Media last month announced a partnership with Expo Simulations to produce an online, three-dimensional trade show for electrical contractors, distributors, engineering companies and manufacturers.

Called the EC&M eTradeshow, the event will offer virtual interaction among exhibitors, attendees and speakers using Expo Simulations' Expo3D technology.

The 3D show is scheduled to be launched with a live event in August to introduce the technology. As part of the promotion, sponsored by Primedia's Electrical Construction & Maintenance and Electrical Wholesaling magazines, 50,000 issues of EC&M will be polybagged with CDs containing show content. Subsequent issues are expected to contain additional CDs.

"One of our goals for Primedia Business is to take fully integrated marketing packages to the marketplace with everything we as a publisher can offer clients," said Bob MacArthur, VP-communications, construction, mining and printing. "The only component we didn't have was a true interactive e-trade show. We didn't have the resources to build it in-house."

The experience is similar to 3D gaming technology in which figures move from room to room. "It mimics how real trade shows and conferences work," said Tony Evans, director-sales and marketing for Expo Simulations. "It takes 3D game technology and rebuilds it for business purposes."

Trade show exhibitors pay for a virtual booth, which costs upwards of $9,900, "with all the bells and whistles," including scripts, product displays, online brochures and PowerPoint-style presentations. Attendees can interact with exhibitors, attend scheduled conference programs, seminars and training sessions and request information.

"It's less than what [advertisers] would spend for a page of advertising [in EC&M]," Evans said. The online booths come in sizes such as 10 ft. by 20 ft. or 20 ft. by 20 ft. "We're trying to make this as close to a live trade show as possible, so we're trying to talk the same language," MacArthur said.

Primedia is promoting the show with banner ads in its three EC&M newsletters, each of which has a circulation of 100,000, and through the magazine's Web site, which tallies about 60,000 unique visitors per month. 

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