No Go: Audit Bureau Delays Conference

The recession is cutting a wide swath through the event business, with a series of industry conferences and trade shows canceled due to concern about costs. The latest casualty is the annual conference planned by the Audit Bureau of Circulations for November 2009 in Toronto.

Mike Lavery, the president and managing director of ABC, explained: "Many of our member organizations are under widespread travel and budget limitations and are trimming discretionary expenses, such as attending industry conferences."

There is no question that both of ABC's core client groups--newspapers and magazines--are suffering major drops in revenue due to the cyclical economic downturn and a long-term shift in media consumption from print to the Internet. Instead of the Toronto event, the ABC said it will hold a less time- and travel-intensive meeting in New York, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 11.

The ABC is the latest in a series of industry groups to cancel their annual meetings.



In February, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America said it canceled its annual national convention, originally scheduled for May 17-19 in Miami. Also in February, the Magazine Publishers of America said it canceled the American Magazine Conference, the industry's annual trade show and expo originally scheduled for October, citing the economic downturn.

Like the ABC, the MPA is hosting a substitute conference closer to home in New York, where executives will be able to attend without running up travel expenses. "We recognize that this year, our members are looking at a variety of ways to achieve savings, which would include curtailing certain discretionary travel and hotel expenses," said MPA President Nina Link.

Finally, the Direct Marketing Association has cut back on its events schedule. The DMA still plans to hold its annual conference, the Non-Profit Federation Conference, the Email Evolution Conference and various partner events, but is nixing all other conferences and events. In making the announcement the DMA also said it was laying off 26 employees, or about 20% of its staff, with many of the cuts coming in the conference and events division.

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