The CP+ camera show, to be held starting in two weeks in Japan, was cancelled this morning due to increased virus risk at the Yokohama venue.
CP+ was once one of two conferences around which the industry revolved, scheduling product releases around the dates and spending lavishly to bring presentations and staff to the event to talk directly to the faithful.
Even before the COVID crimped all conference plans, the industry’s marketing and scheduling behavior had been changing due to a combination of several factors. Conferences were charging higher prices for trade show real estate at a time when the camera market’s scale was rapidly shrinking, shedding the low-end of the market to phone cameras. Sony and Canon made major passive aggressive statements by skipping some events, using the internet to announce products immediately before major conferences to scoop the attention.
CP+ will offer an online alternative, but attendees tend to find these little better than a smorgasbord of PR releases. Online panels in Japan tend to be a series of 15-minute presentations by company officials, rather than an interactive, questioning experience.
Still, there are several camera releases scheduled around CP+ this year. OM System’s ‘wow’ camera is rumored to be released on February 15, for instance.
The physical conferences have evolved extended education tracks, which – prior to COVID – proved more a draw than the conference floor’s hardware peep show. These proved easier to move online with previous cancelled conferences.
The information ecosystem for camera users continues to evolve. Journals and magazines have mostly shuttered or become websites mostly due to print ad revenues moving to targeted internet advertising. At the dawn of digital cameras, print ad revenues were about $40 billion worldwide, where online advertising was measured in the tens of millions.
Camera clubs have depressed memberships – although this trend varies quite a lot by region – in part due to online communities partially satisfying the desire for camera-oriented community.
In many ways these trends reflect the lessening of interest in “cameras” by the low-end of the market in favor of greater interest in “photography,” where people are interested in sharing images rather than information. On the high-end of the market, professionals and the more intense amateurs have online forums to scratch the itches of technical specs and new features. This would suggest that conferences like CP+ may evolve to a higher-end market, which will likely imply a smaller footprint, or at least one more specialized on specific professional markets, like events shooting and video production.