Monday, January 12, 2009

CES attendance worse than first thought

Organizers of the Consumer Electronics Show, the nation’s largest tech trade show, late Sunday slashed their estimate for attendance at the 2009 show.
The Consumer Electronics Association, which produces the event, said it estimated attendance at more than 110,000 for the four-day show, which ended Sunday. Before the show, they were targeting 130,000.
The final tally will be determined by an independent audit and will be released in about 90 days.
The CEA notes that its post-show estimate last year was 130,000, but the verified audit determined the actual count was 141,150.
If 110,000 holds, it would mark a 22% drop from last year’s show. The actual attendance could go up to 120,000 or so, but few are expecting the original target of 130,000.
Organizers say they would like to keep future attendance at the 2009 level because it makes the show more manageable and productive for attendees.
That level would be a challenge if CES planners can snag Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs for a high-profile keynote speech and get the company to exhibit too. That’s the rumor anyway.
Apple announced Dec. 16 that it was pulling out of Macworld after the 2009 show, held Jan. 5-9 in San Francisco. Jobs opted not to deliver the keynote at last week’s conference. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, gave the speech instead.
For now, Macworld has vowed to continue without Apple’s participation. Conference organizer IDG has already set a date for the next show: Jan. 4-8, 2010. Wishful thinking perhaps.

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