Security takes center stage at Comdex

LAS VEGAS: Media coverage surrounding Comdex Fall 2001 has focused

principally on two things: the fact that Comdex is smaller this year,

and the heightened security around the event.



"We have spent an inordinate amount of time answering questions about

those two issues," said Rick Moore, SVP of PR for Key3Media Events,

organizers of Comdex.



Comdex has shrunk by about 25% from last year, with about 150,000

expected attendees and 2,000 vendors, compared to 2,300 vendors in

2000.



Companies that might normally send 20 or 30 staff members this year have

cut those figures in half. Media outlets have also reduced their numbers

on the floor. "In the tech sector, there are a zillion newsletters, but

this year, because of finances, that number has been reduced a lot,"

Moore said.



But he is surprised that the reduced attendance is making news. "Comdex

really mirrors the industry," he said. "When the industry is going

through challenging times, we are identical."



Comdex 2001 also came under fire when the organizers released

information about security measures, which banned laptops from the

floor. The rule was later changed, but some media coverage has focused

on attendees waiting in long lines for security checks prior to

entering.



Key3Media increased the use of technology to reach out to media that

couldn't attend. "We've done some outstanding programs to utilize the

web to get show photographs up and set up interviews," said Amy Groden,

Key3Media's PR director. "We almost doubled the number of satellite

media tour hits booked prior to the show."



No doubt Comdex, which has been around for 22 years, will survive. The

event saw 400 new product launches, compared to 250 last year, and

keynotes by Bill Gates and John Chambers were widely reported upon.



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