ShowEast sees slight drop in numbers

But show topper sees bright future ahead

For the management of this year’s ShowEast, registration has been a real nail-biter, with nearly 70% of the attendees signing on in the past few weeks.

“It’s just scary because you just don’t know where you are going with it,” says Robert Sunshine, who manages the show for Nielsen Business Media’s Nielsen Film Group.

Undoubtedly, the economy has hit the 25-year-old show, which Sunshine predicts will be down 10% from last year in attendance and number of booths on the tradeshow floor.

But in addition, even though the National Assn. of Theater Owners, which once owned the show, is no longer involved in ShowEast, NATO’s announcement last year that it will launch its own Las Vegas-based convention in 2011 — which, according to conventional wisdom, will spell the demise of ShoWest — also seems to have clouded the future of ShowEast.

“I’ve been hearing rumblings there might not be a ShowEast in a few years,” says Phil Norish, vice president of sales for Retriever Software, which has had a booth at the show for 12 years.

Sunshine balks at the suggestion and insists ShowEast is here to stay. “(The ShoWest) situation has nothing to do with ShowEast,” he says. “I see no reason why it should affect it.”

TIP SHEET

What: ShowEast

When: Monday-Thursday

Where: Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla.

Web: showeast.com

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