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CES Scales Up While Companies Push Back 36

Posted by Zonk
from the opposite-directions dept.
The Consumer Electronics Show is being pushed in ever-more-glamorous directions as organizers attempt to top themselves every year. Much like the final years of the E3 event, this week's showcase will feature loud music and brightly-lit stages. At the same time, also mirroring E3, the big businesses that drive CES are starting to rethink the need for the event itself. The New York Times reports: "Technology companies now frequently introduce their products elsewhere, in an effort to reach consumers more directly. The Apple iPhone, the Nintendo Wii and other recent must-haves were not unveiled at C.E.S. One of the industry's biggest hits in 2007 was the Flip Video camcorder, an easy-to-use pocket-size device that sells for $120. Executives from Pure Digital Technologies, its maker, visited Las Vegas last year during the show but kept to their hotel suite at the Wynn."
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CES Scales Up While Companies Push Back

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  • by aquaepulse (990849)
    Why compete against other companies, while having to pay for floorspace? Why not start an ad campaign and send out more units to review to technology websites.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Loibisch (964797)
      Because reviews do not shine as much as all the heavens a gadget maker will promise onto you.

      Or clearer: Showing off your product and claiming it's the best is one thing, proving the stetement by submitting it to review is another and might actually convince fewer people. :)
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by paxgaea (219419)
        That just says to me that their products won't stand up to review, and likely won't get to be killer hits anyway even amongst all that noise at CES, so that company should go back to the drawing board and spend their money on R&D for a better product.

        Like many things in a capitalist economy, it just seems that CES has gotten too big for it's britches, and maybe needs to be broken into smaller parts (kinda like an antitrust for trade shows).

        Although it does fit well in Vegas, being over the top and glitz
    • But...think about the hookers and strippers! Who's going to pay for their services now?

  • In other news, sky found to be blue.
  • Suicidal (Score:4, Funny)

    by imagin8or (676287) on Monday January 07, 2008 @07:15AM (#21940596) Homepage
    "the organisers attempt to top themselves every year" - in Blighty that means that they're annually attempting to commit suicide. So either they're very bad at it, or they keep getting distracted by the shiny things.

    This broadcast brought to you by Pan Atlantic Linguists (FRIEND).
    • by Faylone (880739)
      In their defense, I must admit shiny things are pretty good at distracting me too. It's dangerous for me to browse ThinkGeek.
    • by neokushan (932374)
      Careful now, there's a bunch of people at Toshiba who might just pull it off this year.
  • "One of the reasons Apple stole C.E.S. last year was that its message was simple and succinct," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "C.E.S. does not have a crystal-clear message. There's too much information, and it looks like you have to get a Ph.D. to get these things to work."

    Plain and simple, it's hard to stand out in a crowd!
  • Public admission? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Isn't CES closed to the public? Doesn't it then seem to make more sense to communicate directly with the consumer than to waste time and energy on something that only bills itself with the word?

    Disregard if that's not the case, of course, but I can see where they're coming from if they only allow journalists entry.
    • by postbigbang (761081) on Monday January 07, 2008 @07:39AM (#21940688)
      CES is a 'trade-only' event. That doesn't mean that a huge number of (international big box) retailers, installers, and other industry people don't go; it's just not as big as COMDEX (which was trade-only wink wink) was. COMDEX wasn't prepared for 9/11 and was killed by the industry down-turn and a bad chairman (IMHO).

      Every big trade show needs industry strength to survive. In Europe, CeBIT is down, and while IFA and MobleWorld/3GSM are up, CES (even though it's a trade association show) must constantly re-justify itself and re-invent its value, otherwise it's a pricy proposition in an ever-pricier locale.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nbert (785663)
      According to cesweb.org:

      The International CES is not open to the general public and all attendees must be in the consumer electronics industry to be eligible to attend the show. Due to the investment made by our exhibitors, International CES show management wants to ensure that its attendees are members of the trade.

      So it's not open, but I wouldn't necessarily see this as a bad thing. Public technology related trade shows have become less popular in recent years, because there are cheaper and more convenien

    • Re:Public admission? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bryansix (761547) on Monday January 07, 2008 @01:09PM (#21943420) Homepage
      The CES show is technically only open to people in the trade and journalists. It's not hard to get in though and I'm sure anybody here could do it. I've been twice in my lifetime. Things I noticed about the show that were not expected... There were more exotic cars in the Car Audio hall then at the entire LA Auto show. There were also plenty of game booths setup to play Xbox or PC games. Overall, the show is interesting but if I was in the trade I wouldn't see it as NEEDED. Also as a side note, most people who "are going to the CES show" are really next door at the Adult Entertainment Expo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2008 @07:54AM (#21940744)
    BIll Gates states in his keynote in regards to vista: "I think a lot of people would say it was the best new product of the year in terms of the neat, new things they're using in it."

    If anyone can honestly say that with a strait face, it's well worth it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Do you think any of Bill's circle are willing to tell him that Vista is a total mess? Probably not. Bill Gates no longer needs to know the bad stuff, he's not in charge anyway.

      I wanted to buy a laptop yesterday, and the kid at Fry's told me they just didn't have any laptops with XP anymore, but I should be happy to take Vista, because it's so much safer. Except, I'm not an idiot, so XP is actually really safe enough for me, and 170% faster, and works with all my software. Can't blame MS for moving forwa
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Comboman (895500)
        Do you think any of Bill's circle are willing to tell him that Vista is a total mess?

        The only way Bill wouldn't know Vista is a total mess is if he's still using XP.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          Why would he be using XP? He's one of the richest men in the world. He can afford a Mac.
    • by clonmult (586283)
      BG can easily say something like that, he's never appeared to have any real sense of humour.
    • by jcnnghm (538570)
      I think that's the real problem with CES. I paged through a list of new products [engadget.com] yesterday night, and nothing really stood out as new and innovative, just a bunch of mediocre upgrades. New lines of LCDs, Laptops, iPod docks galore. The only things that were kind of interesting were a curved display from alienware [engadget.com], and a game called Guitar Wizard, basically Guitar Hero with a real guitar [engadget.com].

      Companies would probably be more excited about CES if they had something a bit more interesting to launch than new line
  • Really ? Not at Ceasar's ? My, that's just fabulous !
  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) * on Monday January 07, 2008 @08:17AM (#21940856)
    Take this with a grain of salt; it's been years since I was in the porn industry and actually got paid to go to CES so my knowledge may be out of date. But the adult section of CES (that once was the main draw for lots of attendees and certainly was an entertaining break for 99% of them) got too big and flashy, questioned the need to be a part of CES, and broke away years ago. Their completely separate gathering has been quite a success, from what I hear.

    I've never understood why CES was so unfocused. Back when I went every year, there was the car stuff section, the adult section, the high end audio section (usually at a completely different location), the crap audio section, the home theatre section, the incredibly weird and useless lo-buck gadget section, and on and on. Lots of those things had nothing in common with anyone else and could have existed as their own (often large) trade show. CES is just too big and unfocused. If anyone is a big enough retailer to carry all the stuff that shows at CES, then they're big enough that they don't need to go to CES; the vendors would gladly come to them. Better to break it up and have people going to smaller shows where the products they're actually interested in are shown in more depth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      I've never understood why CES was so unfocused.

      Because the Consumer Electronics market is so wildly unfocused?

      Better to break it up and have people going to smaller shows where the products they're actually interested in are shown in more depth.

      Maybe it'd be a better idea to break it up, but if products aren't being "shown in more depth" I'd imagine that's the exhibitors fault and not CES's.

      My question is why do companies do the Hotel Suite thing?
      Can they not afford a booth on the floor?
      Are they just trying to keep it exclusive?
      Other reasons?

      • Booth space (Score:3, Informative)

        by JoeCommodore (567479)
        From what I had read floor booth rental can be from 5 to 6 figures (not including the actual hardware of your display, any tech support and staffing. Depending on how cheap your Co is, how well they expect revenue to be, or if they just don't have much to show off, it may be a pretty tough sell.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Because the Consumer Electronics market is so wildly unfocused?

        Yeah, that's certainly part of it. But there are other factors that lead to the show being diluted. Some people go who really have no reason to. The car audio guys, for example, would reach far more of their buyers if they stayed at SEMA shows. And lots of people show up for reasons I can't fathom. Maybe there's some tenuous connection between iPod cover sales and consumer electronics. I'll grant that. But I actually saw an exhibitor wh

      • by humphrm (18130)
        The trouble is that the industry insiders, e.g. the buyers and retail sellers of this junk, can get their own private audiences with the companies that develop and market them. There are no big buyers at the CES (at least, none are making a committment to buy at the CIS) So that leaves only one other demographic, the end-user / retail-buyer lookie-lou's. And when you make access to the show so difficult and expensive and then have a bunch of off-floor activities in suites that those people don't even hear
  • by PenguinBoyDave (806137) <david&davidmeyer,org> on Monday January 07, 2008 @11:22AM (#21942180)
    I have seen overall trade show decline in the past four years from both a vendor and attendee perspective. Why? As a vendor, it wasn't a great use of our marketing dollars to drop anywhere from $90K to $150K for a large booth, sponsorship and otherwise, for a show that didn't deliver when it came to converted opportunities. In the late 90's, we'd drop nearly $250K for a show, but as things went on, we noticed that all vendors appeared to scale back...except for Novell...they make Linux World with all the floor space they take up and all the swag they give out.

    What I did notice though, and this holds especially true for the Linux World Show in San Francisco (specifically) is an increase of C-level executives attending.
    • ...the web. In the bad old days, you needed to catch the eye of televison or the few print outlets. Today, there are thousands of websites and blogs which can be reached without congregating in a physical space. Add to that that most of these websites and blogs require daily fodder to publish, and are thus much easier to get published in.

      The ways to get attention have changed with tech.
      • That is an excellent point. I read an article somewhere, and I'll try to find it an post later, that talked about the idea of trade shows going entirely virtual, including keynotes delivered via the web, rather than in person. It is an interesting concept indeed.
  • this week's showcase will feature loud music and brightly-lit stages.

    That's all well and good, but tell us about the quality and quantity of Booth Babes this year.

  • I went to CES a year ago, but all my work for the show was done before it opened. I then had the full 4 days to roam the show and see what I liked. The biggest flashiest booths at the show were Microsoft and Intel, right across from each other. I once heard "Hey when you're done with those quad-cores check out Vista!" Needless to say alot of the booths were useless, I mean at least 20 thousand square feet was devoted to big tv's, and the car audio floor was just fancy cars. The small company booths were fan

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