HP has said that it is "strongly against" Drupa's proposal to move to a three-year cycle, citing its impact on major product launches and the additional cost burden it would place on exhibitors and visitors.
"We strongly want Drupa to stay with four years. Three years is far from ideal. It would be fundamentally different for two reasons, the way R&D cycles work for major platform introductions, which is what we think Drupa has to be about," said vice president, marketing and strategy for HP’s Graphics Solutions Business Sumeer Chandra.
"Our own experience suggests that the R&D cycle on major platforms is at least five years, and if you look at the other vendors that launched major new platforms at Drupa then they’re not going to be available for a couple of years – this suggests that the major platform introduction cycles simply can’t be compressed.
"The second reason is simply budget considerations; a Drupa every three years is going to place a significant burden on all vendors."
HP was the second biggest exhibitor at Drupa 2012, taking almost 5,000sqm. However, it is not part of the Drupa committee that will meet on 2 November to decide whether the show should move to a three-year cycle from 2015.
Unlike Landa chairman and chief executive Benny Landa, Chandra mirrors Heidelberg’s view that a three-year show cycle would increase exhibitors costs. He highlighted that Drupa is by far the biggest investment that HP makes in a graphic arts event "by an order of magnitude" and that while he supported a shorter show duration, increasing Drupa’s frequency would stretch the majority of vendors at a time their average profitability was much lower than it was five or ten years ago.
"I think what will happen is that the vendors, and I can only speak for HP, will reduce their investment, which will result in fewer machines, smaller booth sizes, and less R&D ‘breakthrough’ products. So I think it will be a less than optimal experience for the vendors and also the visitors – I don’t see a three-year cycle benefitting anyone in the industry," he added.
While some in the industry believe that moving Drupa to a three-year cycle might help cement its position as the leading global show in the face of increasing competition from shows in the emerging economies, Chandra doesn’t "buy in to that logic". He said that while visitor numbers were down at Drupa 2012 and that the shows in China and Brazil were becoming increasingly important, he believed that the best way Drupa could secure its future would be to stick to four years and be the launch pad for the "really big global innovations".
"Drupa is for us the biggest worldwide show, it is the premier show, we will obviously participate in Drupa – for us this is not an option. But a three-year Drupa would be suboptimal for us and the industry."
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