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Storage Networking World powers off

Storage Networking World powers off

Massive sponsor shortfall blamed

Event management firm Terrapinn is facing revenue loss from the cancellation of the lucrative Storage Networking World (SNW) exhibition, scheduled to run on August 28 this year as part of a three-year contract.

The company won management of the event from its proprietor the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), almost three years ago when its own event, Storage World, was ditched due to falling revenues.

According to Terrapinn managing director Symon Ruebens, the event was cancelled because it failed to sign up enough vendors.

"We shortened the length of the show from two days to one at the request of SNIA Australia; I can't say with certainty whether this attributed to the show's decline [in participation]," Ruebens said.

While Ruebens could not say how many vendors did not resign, SNW Australia's Web site showed last year's event attracted about 50 sponsors and exhibitors, while the 2007 event has only nine sponsors.

The potential estimated lost revenue calculated by Computerworld from 2006 sponsors which did not resign this year amounts to $314,750.

This is indicated by sponsorship fees which range from $50,000, $25,000 and $7500 for event partners, associate sponsors, and exhibition partners respectively.

A Computerworld source said the 2006 SNW exhibition boosted revenue from "about $100,000 in 2005 to about $1 million", making last year's event the most successful in its three-year history.

SNIA Australia local chair Jacob Van Der Eyck said he was "very disappointed" about the exhibition's cancellation, but was tight-lipped about the reasons behind its shortfall.

One theory, according to IDC senior analyst Grahame Penn, is that exhibitions such as SNW need to be created around current industry trends and issues, rather than the need for an annual topical event.

"You can't repeat the same theme over the years without considering audience requirements and concerns, and the evolution of technology," Penn said.

"Last year's SNIA event was successful because it centred around user content and SNIA standards, but they can't do that again this year or vendors will take their dimishing revenue elsewhere."

Penn cited problems with IDC's own events in the late 1990s when the company broadened event topics to bolster dwindling audiences with delegates from outside its typical scope.

And it appears SNW will follow suit, with next year's event expected to cover data management and storage under the guidance of UK-based event management firm Angel.

Meanwhile, Terrapinn has removed exhibitions from its management portfolio to instead focus on conferences with average attendances of 150 delegates. Ruebens said the company runs some 50 conferences annually and has ditched its two exhibitions due to "market response".

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