Here’s a question. Where would you find a booth from a company printing t-shirts, a robot being manoeuvred by a man inside and a leading company in the design and construction of virtual reality, side-by-side?
We are of course in Japan. In Tokyo, Chiba to be accurate. For the second year running we have travelled the considerable journey to attend Live Entertainment Expo TOKYO 2018. “Finally something different” we thought, as we were confronted by an event that, even this year, seems to be heterogeneous when viewed in contrast to the many other “single-theme” fairs around the world. The “Vision” – perfectly expressed by Mr. Suzuki in the following interview, is simple: “we want to involve any entity that has any connection with the world of show business and entertainment “. Those of you keeping up-to-date with current affairs will know that Tokyo is to play host to the 2020 Olympic Games, an occasion that has always proved important in our sector for discovering and appreciating new technologies and technical solutions. So it seems only natural that all these themes should come together for this year’s show.
But back to the fair itself, which this year experienced a slight “physiological” decline in terms of company attendance. This is most likely only because of the decision to move the show from October to late February, meaning that the 2018 edition fell into the same fiscal year as the previous edition. For this reason, some companies had to pass on attending this edition, but with the certainty of coming back with even greater presence in 2019.
As usual, a very composed and polite audience (in general we have to underline the courtesy and exemplary presentation of the Japanese people in general) entered the halls, and have this year witnessed, en-mass, the conferences organised in a dedicated pavilion.
To understand the breadth of views of the organisers, we want to mention one of the particularly interesting conferences we attended, where the communication manager of the Inter FC football team spoke about branding, image and communication.
Mr. Suzuki, had this to say about present and future strategies: “We have had many requests from global organisations saying that they want to promote their region more, but that they don’t know how to do this. That’s why there’s an area for the companies that support the local governments to promote their region. So some of the travel companies are exhibiting, alongside some of the publicity companies”.
LightSoungJournal: So it’s local show, but companies from all around Japan, not just Tokyo?
Mr. Suzuki: That’s right. The audience comes from all over Japan, especially from the north and west, as Tokyo is a more well known region to them. Other regions are not as well known and they want to do more promotion for their areas.
LightSoungJournal: Can you explain why you added the sport business category to this edition of the show?
Mr. Suzuki: Well, for both the live entertainment and event expo, there are many sporting companies who visited the show. Some of the exhibitors told us that they also wanted to sell more products to the professional sport industries, such as the baseball and football leagues, alongside the arenas staging these events. We also asked visitors if there were any events that they wanted to be involved, and they said yes. The soccer, volleyball and basketball industries are very different and usually have their own events for their sports, but they don’t have any comprehensive events.
Because of this, we talked with the Japanese Top League, which is the organisation that manages a wide range of sports leagues, and they became our main supporter for the show. Our main speaker was Mr Kaluluchi, who created J League, the Japanese soccer league, and is now at the top of organisations for a number of different sports. He said it was a great idea to have those kind of events included within this type of show. The first year has gone well, and I’m hopeful that more companies will be exhibiting next year. 2019 and 2020 will be huge years for the country, with the rugby and the olympic games, so it’s the best time for this kind of event to take place. There were some large companies who couldn’t exhibit this year due to this year’s show taking place in the same fiscal year as the last show, with last year’s event taking place in May and this year’s in February. From next year, the show will take place in February, probably towards the end of the month, so as not to clash with ISE. This is due to a request from the lighting industry. We previously held the show in July, but we moved it to earlier in the year as July is a super busy time for the lighting industry, meaning some attendees couldn’t not attend. Another negative effect for this year was the clashing with the Chinese new year, so many Chinese companies have not attended, such as those involved in the LED businesses. These plan to return next year as this is a time of year that they need to be with their families, and they don’t want to send their employees away because of this.
LightSoungJournal: What are your strategies to attract the bigger brands within the Audio and Lighting Industries? We noticed several larger Audio brands that were present last year are not this year?
Mr. Suzuki: Again, I think this is probably down to the two shows being in the same Fiscal year. For example, Panasonic and Sony are exhibiting and have a small booth this year, but plan to come back next year with a much larger booth with their Broadcasting equipment, again linking in with the sports industry. For the light entertainment industry, this event will be the central event within Japan. This is something that our visitors tell us they want to see. We are in continuous talks with the major players in the industry in order to have them return next year.
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