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Is Brazil Big Enough for Two Trade Shows?

1/23/2000 7:00 PM Eastern

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil -- Brazil's pay TV industry
will have two trade shows later this year instead of just one, despite industry concerns
that the market can't support such a move.

Going their separate ways are the Brazilian Association of
Subscription Television (ABTA), the country's pay TV trade group, and its conference
organizer of the last three years, Grupo BrasilRio. Each will stage separate events this
year.

BrasilRio will hold Telelink from Sept. 25 to Sept. 27 at
the International Trade Market in Sao Paulo. In addition to pay TV companies, the show
aims to draw participants from the Internet and broadcasting sectors, BrasilRio director
Marco Antonio Mastrandonakis said.

ABTA, which represents local cable systems, companies and
programmers, will sponsor ABTA 2000 in the first week of October in Sao Paulo. The
association is still determining the event's format, but it will likely feature a
series of seminars and panels, along with venues for business meetings, ABTA director
Alvaro Pacheco Jr. said.

"We are considering a few locations for the event in
Sao Paulo, but we will make a decision based on our format for ABTA 2000," he said,
adding that ABTA plans to work with a new conference organizer.

In 1997, ABTA hired BrasilRio to organize, commercialize
and promote its annual show, generally perceived as a successful, well-run event. Under
their contract, BrasilRio was in charge of selling space to exhibitors and paid royalties
to ABTA. The ABTA fair grew year by year, and in 1999 attracted 376 exhibitors and roughly
20,000 visitors in a 25,000-square-meter area. It helped generate deals worth about $1
million, Mastrandonakis said.

The contract between the two parties expired last year and
ABTA, under direction from a new board, decided not to renew it.

ABTA has not publicly stated the reasons for its decision,
but sources said a number of its members complained about the high cost of renting a booth
at last year's show, adding that it had a limited impact on business.

"There is a worldwide debate over the effectiveness of
this type of show," an industry source said. "The companies have to spend loads
of money to talk to just a few key people. There are more effective ways of reaching those
guys. The show organizer is the only one making money out of these events."

Market analysts and industry executives agree there is no
room for more than one pay TV trade show in Brazil. Conventional wisdom holds that one of
the events will eventually perish, or both will be absorbed by one of Brazil's
telecom shows.

Facing such stiff competition, both organizers are working
hard to ensure the success of their respective events. ABTA has recommended that its
members attend only the association's event. ABTA directors also have reached an
agreement with the Brazilian Association of Pay TV Equipment Suppliers, or ABRAFORTE, an
association representing some 150 pay TV equipment suppliers, to promote ABTA 2000, said
ABRAFORTE board president Foad Shaikhzadeh.

BrasilRio executives counter that their show is concerned
with broadening the industry's horizons. "The market needs an event of
connectivity," Mastrandonakis said.

 

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