The Imaging and Digital Entertainment Association (IDEA), which assumes the position in the Australian photographic industry of the wholesalers’ and manufacturers’ trade association, will not, as previously indicated, be holding any industry events in 2018.
Last August PhotoCounter reported that IDEA was exploring options for an event this year at one of the second-tier exhibition venues in Sydney or Melbourne, with low costs for exhibitors and an emphasis on education.
‘The options for 2018 were investigated but an event will not be occurring. We are currently studying options for 2019,’ was the brief response from James Murray (pictured right), long-serving IDEA president and managing director of Nikon Australia, this week. He did not elaborate on what options were investigated for 2018 or why an event will not be occurring, but did note that ‘financially, we remain strong’ – indicating that funding was not the issue. IDEA has not lodged a financial report since 2014-15, although the association still employs a Business Manager.
The last activity IDEA initiated was the 2015 Digital Show. Whether it is a consequence of, or reason for, the inactivity since that time, IDEA has only nine remaining members, down from a list of 30 – 40, which used to include the vast majority of photographic distributors. With annual membership fees of $500, and no other revenue stream, it would appear IDEA is now operating on reserves. Neither Canon, Sony nor Panasonic have chosen to support IDEA with membership, which must make the task of recruiting second-tier distributors challenging.
James Murray told PhotoCounter that before IDEA attempted to re-build its membership base would need to show that it was promoting the industry.
‘Of course longer term we need to expand the membership, but firstly we will promote the industry, which will re-establish value in the association…attracting members,’ he said.
(Given there will no activity until 2019, and even that is not confirmed, the plan to ‘re-establish value’ and then expand membership would seem to be a long-term one!)
There seemed little interest in opening up a membership category for photo specialists.
‘This is a possibility that can be discussed further with retailers,’ he said. ‘Many retailers are running very successful consumer events themselves these days and credit to them. However IDEA remains committed to bringing value to the whole industry, this means we will consider the benefit to retailers with future activity.’
James declined to comment further, except to say, ‘We will let you know as 2019 plans progress.’