Ipex refocus criticised as litho exhibitor threatens to pull out

The change of direction was criticised by Printers Superstore, the UK distributor for Hans Gronhi B3 presses and Shinohara B2 and B1 presses, which is down to take a 600sqm stand at Ipex 2014.

Joint managing directors Richard McNeill and Graham Moorby said in an open letter: "We are very concerned by the change of focus of the show, and the message this sends to the industry – namely that digital should now be the industry's focus at the expense of litho and other non-digital technologies.

"As a litho distributor we find ourselves committed heavily to a different show to the one we signed up to, and a show whose marketing efforts are now targeted at undermining our potential success. I wonder how many litho printers – our potential customers – will now not attend when they see themselves brushed aside as irrelevant."

The pair openly criticised the statistical analysis given in the Ipex 2014 white paper, whose executive summary said: "The re-focus to a digital landscape means that Ipex doesn't have to focus on the historical needs and exhibitions of the offset litho exhibitor. Instead, focus will be placed on the ROI for its digital and cross media exhibitors."

[Related: Ipex to head to Australia]

Moorby and McNeill countered that "any show purporting to represent the print industry, or at least attract printers, should focus on both [litho and digital] – or at least not deliberately turn its back on one".

They added: "We are forced to ask ourselves – and our Chinese manufacturer – whether is it really worth the considerable expense to invest in a show which seemingly dismisses litho as a credible commercial print platform.

"We have always been a supporter of the show… and we are forced to conclude that your white paper provides more evidence of the decline of Ipex than the decline of litho print."

The letter adds that "there may now be a need for a new UK printing exhibition correctly formatted to the 'real world' needs of UK printers and suppliers, one which is controlled by an unbiased and not-for-profit organisation".

It concludes: "We will let you know Hans Gronhi’s thoughts on the advisability of taking a 600sqm stand to show litho products at a digital exhibition."

Event organiser Informa responded: "It is not Informa’s policy to comment publicly on individual client relationships. The Ipex 2014 team has been aware of Printers Superstore’s views since last week. We have and will continue to make every effort to have a face-to-face meeting with them to address their concerns and the rationale behind the strategic positioning of Ipex 2014. In the meantime, we have replied to them addressing all the points they’ve raised."

[Related: More news about Ipex14]

This article originally appeared at printweek.com

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