New Comdex to have less flash

Key3Media Group, the trade show company that manages the annual Las Vegas IT show, has emerged from its recent Chapter 11...

Key3Media Group, the trade show company that manages the annual Las Vegas IT show, has emerged from its recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings with a new name, MediaLive International, and a new, business-focused vision for the show.

It will now cost $50 (£30) for uninvited visitors to get on to the show floor and there are likely to be fewer gadgets, gizmos and less glitz at the event.

"All the little suppliers of tchotchkes and massages that you've come to expect at Comdex will not be invited,"  said Mike Millikin, MediaLive's senior vice-president in charge of Comdex.

The show's focus will shift toward edification rather than entertainment, he said. 

The rebranding of Comdex as a business-focused show is a natural response to its excessive growth in the late 1990s, when the it attracted more than 200,000 visotrs a year, Millikin said.

This year the show will make a much more concerted effort to attract suppliers and visitors interested in areas such as web services, security, and open source software, he added.

As part of the restructuring, MediaLive has named a new chief executive officer, Robert Priest-Heck. The company, which had been publicly traded before the bankruptcy, is now privately held by Thomas Weisel Capital Partners, which financed Key3Media through the bankruptcy.

MediaLive has refunded about $40,000 (£24,000) to exhibitors that did not fit with the new business-focused theme. Millikin expects Comdex's total attendance to fall from 125,000 in 2002 to about 80,000 this year.

Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service

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