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PL+S 2017 demonstrates its importance for the sector


Apr 28, 2017

High levels of internationality and satisfaction, conference programme
and new formats popular with visitors and exhibitors.


Good visitor response to Prolight + Sound: following the record set last year, the International Fair of Technologies and Services for Entertainment, Integrated Systems and Creation once again registered a slight increase in the number of participants. From 4 to 7 April 2017, the fair welcomed 45,100 visitors from 139 countries. 950 exhibitors from 39 countries presented their latest products for the fields of lighting, sound and stage engineering, broadcasting and production technology, systems integration and AV media technology. “In many important international markets, demand for live entertainment has increased significantly, as has the number of elaborate corporate and customer events being held. Investments in modern event technology are being made all around the world and, as the international platform for the industry’s innovations, Prolight + Sound benefited from this positive business climate. Once again, the fair demonstrated how important it is for the individual segments of the event and media-technology sector to exhibit, network and exchange information together at the same time and place”, explains Michael Biwer, Group Show Director of the ‘Entertainment, Media & Creative Industries’ Business Unit of Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

With 54 percent of visitors coming from outside Germany, Prolight + Sound was the global meeting place for the sector. After Germany, the leading visitor nations included the Netherlands, Italy, France, Belgium, China, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Austria and Poland. 93 percent of visitors achieved their personal goals at the fair. Leading trade associations were also pleased with their results: “Following the comprehensive restructuring in 2016 and several subsequent improvements, the fair continues on its successful course. Some of our members have reported an increase in the number of international visitors to their exhibition stands this year. The fair has become an established networking venue for many associations from all over the world and is rightly known as the leading event for our sector”, said Randell Greenlee, Head of the Political and International Division of the German Entertainment Technology Association (VPLT). Joachim König, President of the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) summarised saying, “Once again, Prolight + Sound has shown that it is the foremost meeting place for the lighting and sound sector. The synergistic effects are extremely valuable for the annual general meeting of the EVVC, which is held every two years during the fair in Frankfurt. In addition to the innovations to be seen at the fair itself, the ‘International Event Safety Conference’, which takes place within the framework of the fair, has developed over recent years into a very important professional-development platform for members of the technical staff of our member companies.”

Broad product spectrum and high levels of exhibitor satisfaction

The exhibitors of Prolight + Sound 2017 demonstrated the innovativeness of the sector with numerous new product lines – including impressive lighting, water and pyro effects, 4K laser projectors, ultra HD displays, high-performance media servers and programmable show drones. As in the past, LED modules were an important growth segment at Prolight + Sound 2017. Manufacturers are banking not only on smaller pixel pitches and brilliant colour reproduction but also, to an increasing extent, on user friendliness, robustness and energy efficiency. Digital network protocols continue to gain in significance in the audio and broadcasting segments. Numerous Ethernet-compatible product lines that support the Dante industry standard or similar audio-over-IP formats, from mixing desks and stage boxes, via loudspeakers and microphone systems, to conference solutions, were on show. Additionally, Prolight + Sound visitors could see an increasing number of innovations for creating immersive experiences that, in the case of visitors to theme parks, exhibitions and museums, for example, blur the boundaries between reality and virtual perception, e.g., hardware and software for spatial-audio projects, full-dome attractions and hologram projection.

With an extensive range of products as well as numerous world premičres and a high degree of internationality, Prolight + Sound was equally popular among both exhibitors and visitors. Key players from the sector confirm the significance of the fair: “Prolight + Sound is undoubtedly the most important fair for event technology and was a big success for us this year. And there are good reasons: here in Frankfurt, we meet all rental customers, from hobby users to leading production companies. At the same time, the head buyers of the big music dealers are also here. Particularly good this year was the echo from the Benelux countries, as well as the worldwide market as a whole”, said Arne Deters, Managing Director, db Technologies Deutschland. Jochen Frohn, Director of Business Development, L-Acoustics, was also pleased with the internationality of the event: “I would say that around 30 percent of our customers come from the German-speaking countries and 70 percent from countries around the globe. For us, the primary regions are West Europe, East Europe and Asia followed by the USA, Africa, Australia and South America. We regard Prolight + Sound as being indispensable in terms of both existing customers and making new contacts.”

Michael Herweg, CEO of SGM Germany, emphasised the significance of Prolight + Sound as a launching pad: “We develop our products with the dates of the fair in mind and begin production shortly thereafter. In our case specifically and for the lighting segment in general, business at Prolight + Sound has developed very well. It is also very good to see how the visitor level has reached an even higher standard of professionalism.” This year, too, the fair was distinguished by its extremely balanced visitor structure, as noted by Marko Kraft, Sales Manager of Salzbrenner Media: “At Prolight + Sound, we reach exactly the people we need because, as a rule, our customers are a mixture of technical directors, sound engineers and planners who take the buying decisions for their individual fields.”

Conference programme and new formats strike the sector’s nerve

Against the background of technical progress, increasing expectations on productions and new legal requirements, on-going professional development is of great importance for everyone in the event sector. With the ‘Prolight + Sound Conference’ and the ‘Eventplaza Conference’, the fair was characterised by an extensive programme with more than 70 lectures, seminars and panel discussions. Many of them were held in English and over 2,600 visitors took advantage of this opportunity, an increase of around 40 percent compared to last year.

Additionally, Prolight + Sound was supplemented by several new event areas. For example, the ‘Silent Stage’ gave visitors the chance to learn about this new concept. Thus, event engineers and musicians could see how this innovative stage setup, which is designed to minimise noise levels on the stage, can contribute to improvements not only in the mix but also in the performance of musical acts. Numerous brands, including renowned manufacturers of in-ear monitoring, presented their solutions at this area: “The visitor response was very good and, for us as exhibitors, the plan was a complete success”, said Markus Ganzmann, KLANG:technologies GmbH. “We wanted to demonstrate the advantages of the silent-stage concept for visitors and present our products under realistic conditions. For this reason, we initiated the ‘Silent Stage’ area together with Messe Frankfurt and other companies and played a key role in its conception and implementation”, said Johannes Steger, Vision Ears.

Another premičre at Prolight + Sound was the ‘Faces behind the Voices’ multi-media exhibition, which introduced Germany’s best-known dubbing actors and put the spotlight on professional dubbing production as part of the entertainment business.

Following its successful debut last year, ‘DJCon’ was held again at Prolight + Sound 2017. There, disk jockeys had the opportunity to find out about new products, attend lectures and workshops on DJing and DJ equipment and see some of their top colleagues in action.

As in the past, this year’s Prolight + Sound was the venue for the presentation of several important awards. Thus, the Opus – German Stage Award was given for two projects: the winner in the ‘Stage and Lighting Design’ category was Rea Garvey’s ‘Get Loud Open Air Tour 2016’; in the ‘Technical Realisation’ category, the award was given for Ulrich Rasche’s production of Schiller’s ‘The Robbers’ at the ‘Residenztheater’ in Munich. The media installation at the head offices of Hilti AG in Liechtenstein was honoured with the Sinus – Systems Integration Award.

For the first time, Prolight + Sound was also the setting for the presentation of the ‘Mondo*Dr’ Award, which spotlights outstanding permanent-installation products in several categories.

Strong trade-fair duo with valuable synergistic effects for the music and event sector

This year, Prolight + Sound was held concurrently with Musikmesse, International Trade Fair for Musical Instruments, Sheet Music, Music Production and Music Business Connections, from Wednesday to Friday, a day longer than in 2016. This turned Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre into a get-together for the entire music and event sector and attracted around 100,000 visitors[1] from 144 countries. Altogether, 1,922 exhibitors[2] from 55 countries made presentations there. The conceptual development of Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound will be continued in the future and, to this end, Messe Frankfurt is in close, continuous contact with the associations and companies from the sectors represented at the fair.

The next Prolight + Sound will be held from 10 to 13 April 2018.

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