Drupa is poised to move to a three-year cycle and shorter duration starting in 2015 in response to the changing industry landscape.
Industry speculation had been rife that event organiser Messe Düsseldorf was gauging opinion on changing the frequency and duration of the show. However, director of Drupa Manuel Mataré confirmed the speculation today (11 October) following the announcement that he would be gradually winding down his involvement with the show for health reasons.
Mataré said that Drupa had been canvassing opinion from exhibitors and visitors for a number of months on whether the show should shorten its current 14-day span and also either stick to its current four-year cycle or move to three years. He will present his findings to Drupa’s 22-strong committee on the 2 November, with an announcement expected the following week.
Mataré stressed that the committee would make the final, formal decision, but revealed that his recommendation, based on feedback, was moving to a three-year cycle and 11 day duration, starting in 2015.
"There are three issues we will present, the most important being what will be the content of the next Drupa and how will it anticipate and reflect the changes in the industry. The second issue is the length of Drupa, we have come to the conclusion that we have to ‘give in’ and respect the wishes of the industry and shorten Drupa, not to 13 days and no less than 10 days, most likely a compromise of 11 days with a middle weekend," he said.
"The third issue is when. There are good reasons for three years, as we had in the 1970s, and there are good reasons for four years. The best reason for four years is that people don’t like change."
However, Mataré highlighted that not only were exhibitors and visitors generally keen for shift in cycle but that Messe Düsseldorf has two shows on a similar scale to Drupa, Interpack and plastics show K, both of which are on a three-year cycle. There is also substantial crossover of exhibitors between K and Interpack and Interpack and Drupa and if Drupa was to move to 2015, the three shows would be synched with one ‘big’ event every year. The next opportunity to synch the shows will not be until 2027.
Mataré, who turns 60 next year, revealed the proposed changes to Drupa following the news that he will begin handing over the reins of the show to Sabine Geldermann on 1 January 2013. After a six month handover he will then act as consultant for Messe Düsseldorf until 2016.
Geldermann is an experienced trade show organiser who has previously run a number of exhibitions for Reed Exhibitions Germany, including visual communications show Viscom and Pro Sign. Most recently she was part of the divisional management of German engineering Association VDI, which boasts 150,000 members.
Mataré, who joined Drupa in 1994, said his departure had been planned for a while as a result of legacy health issues associated with a bout of pneumonia contracted in 2010.
"I’ve known for a long time that Drupa 2012 would be my last show [in charge]... as hard as this step is for me, I have to slow down," said Mataré.
"Drupa is different from all of other shows, it’s a special show, an emotional show – there’s something different about it. But I’ll still be around, just not every day and not every hour, until 2016."
For industry reaction to Drupa's likely move to 2015 and its potential impact on rival shows, see next week's PrintWeek.