The combination of several innovative new content-led initiatives, the debut of a pioneering conference programme and more than 900 industry-leading exhibitors from over 60 countries ensured the landmark 20th anniversary edition of CABSAT – which ran for three days at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) in March – was its best-attended show to date.
Cementing its position as the Middle East, Africa and South Asia’s leading platform for the broadcast, production, content delivery, digital media and satellite sectors, CABSAT 2014, which included the two-day CABSAT Conference in partnership with NAB Show, welcomed a record 12,632 visitors– of which 47% were first-time attendees.
The refreshed show’s success is further evidenced by a DWTC survey which revealed more than 90% of polled exhibitors have either ‘already committed’ or are ‘planning to book’ floor-space in 2015, with the retention rate supported by 83% of this year’s attendees declaring they secured ‘up to or more than 75 new business contacts’ at the show.
In addition, the survey found 80% of attendees will purchase products displayed at CABSAT within the next 12 months, while more than 90% of visitors in the dedicated content creation, management and distribution industries have earmarked a 2015 return.
DWTC officials insisted strong participant retention and legacy sales factors illustrate CABSAT is approaching ‘full maturity’ on the global stage and revealed plans to ramp-up the specialist features and cutting-edge content at the 2015 installment.
“The modifications made to this year’s CABSAT went beyond a simple ‘nip and tuck’ procedure,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Events & Exhibitions Department, DWTC, the show organiser.
“The enhancements saw two of the world’s biggest industry show brands in their field collaborate on a pioneering, knowledge-rich conference programme, while the Content Delivery Hub -covering everything related to IPTV, Over-The-Top and online digital platforms, solutions and services – was rated as the show’s number one new feature. As a result, this engaging, innovative hub will be a standalone hall with more than 80 exhibitors in 2015.
“Proof of the evolution in the show’s offering is evidenced by 92% of this year’s attendees rating CABSAT as ‘better’ than other industry events held regionally and internationally,” added LohMirmand.
“The show, which we will evolve again next year with a further raft of content-based features, industry-leading platforms and a larger version of our CABSAT Connect networking event, is approaching full maturity for the Middle East market and is demonstrating encouraging growth from attendees in Africa and South Asia, which will be a continued focus in 2015.”
With heavyweight industry talent such as Mark Sanger, Academy Award-winning editor of Hollywood hit, Gravity, and Shahrzad Rafati, President of BroadbandTV Corp , one of the world’s leading digital entertainment and technology companies, participating in the CABSAT Conference, the show-floor featured a cache of sector-specific industry summits,a raft of demonstration-based features, dozens of regional and international product launches and the release of a new-to-market, CABSAT-commissioned White Paper from Frost & Sullivan on the burgeoning ‘TV-Everywhere’ market in the Middle East.
The report revealed the GCC currently boasts76% high-speed broadband penetration, 77% digital TV connectivity and over 100% mobile device penetration, which led Rafati to state in the CABSAT Conference’s keynote address that regional broadcasters and content delivery providers must face up to an ever-changing content absorption landscape if they want to monetise their businesses.
“Broadcasters need to optimise on all digital platforms in order to understand specific user behaviors. In the Middle East, mobile penetration is the key factor – consumption is growing and it’s becoming a default technology. Broadcasters need to capitalise on content consumption patterns – it should be the cornerstone of distribution and programming strategy,” said Rafati.
Elsewhere, the three-day show’s frenzied buzz impressed Sanger, who insisted CABSAT is a premium gateway for international studios exploring the regional film production industry.
“Every corner you turn there is something different and evolving going on,” said the Briton. “It is clear technology is firmly footed here in Dubai and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the region’s burgeoning film production industry will go global.”
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