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Changes ahead for PLASA show and organisation

Paddy Baker 14 October 2015
Chris Toulmin, PLASA

With the PLASA Show relocating to Olympia next year, the link-up with US association ESTA coming to an end and CEO Matthew Griffiths about to step down, there is much change ahead for the PLASA organisation.

The three-year contract with London’s ExCeL having expired, the organisation has taken the decision to move the show to Olympia for 2016 (18-20 September). “It was good to end our stay at ExCeL on a high and we are excited to be moving back to West London in 2016 for a new, refocused PLASA Show at Olympia,” said Christopher Toulmin, head of PLASA Events (pictured).

Speaking to sister title PSNEurope, Toulmin explained that the aim for the 2016 show was to attract a similar number of companies into a smaller space: “We’re taking what we learned from PLASA Focus in Leeds and bringing that into to a London event. It won’t all be small shell schemes – it’s about significantly reducing the cost to exhibit with us.”

Lowering the cost of exhibiting is the result of feedback from the industry, he said: “Through our dialogue with companies, we get various opinions on how they see the profile of the show and which budget the show comes out of. As it has moved away from the international budget for most of them, then they don’t have the money to spend doing a show on this scale in the UK.”

He added that, while the representation of audio companies on the exhibition floor had remained low, PLASA had restated its commitment to the audio community by offering educational sessions that were “stronger than ever this year”.

Toulmin also revealed that North American trade association ESTA, which merged with PLASA at the start of 2011, is to de-merge. “The decision has been taken for PLASA to de-merge Europe and North America,” he said. “We all speak the same language but culturally we are different in how we approach business. And bringing those two organisations together involved too much compromise which didn’t best serve either side.”

Finally, CEO Matthew Griffiths is to step down in the new year, rather than the end of October as was previously announced. Toulmin commented: “After 17 years, having shaped and reshaped the organisation it’s come time to reshape it again, and he took the decision it was someone else’s turn to take that on.”


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