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ABM Survey: B-to-B Trade Show Revenues Grew 4.3% in 2008, But Began Decline in Q4


New York, NY – Revenues from U.S. B-to-B media company trade shows grew 4.3% last year, although the Fourth Quarter was less encouraging with an 18.5% decline over Q4 2007, according to American Business Media’s 2009 Media Financial Survey.

Overall, the B-to-B industry saw a 2.2% decline in revenues as growth in revenues from live events, online and data products offset declines in magazine revenues. The findings largely reflected the industry’s view that events and online have become vital components of media companies that have traditionally been led by their print brands.

Trade show revenues, however, showed a significant decline in the final quarter of the year as the recession picked up steam, slipping 18.5% from $29 million in the Fourth Quarter of 2007 to $24 million. Although sponsorship income grew 25.2%, exhibit sales revenues were down 25.9%.

Despite the Fourth Quarter downturn, 2008 was a banner year for the trade show divisions of the 20 B-to-B companies that took part in the survey. Together, the companies took in $177 million from trade shows compared with $170 million in 2007 and $113 million in 2006. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2006 to 2008 was a hefty 25.4%.

Trade shows ranked third as the most-lucrative revenue streams for B-to-B companies behind magazines and online. Print revenues from 208 titles fell 8.4% in 2008 with a negative CAGR of 3.9%. They remained, however, well above trade show revenues at $1.14 billion.

At the same time, online media, including display and search advertising, gained 12.4% in 2008 compared to 2007 and had a hefty CAGR of 30.7%.

The 2009 Media Financial Survey was created by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI), and compiled by Peter Craig, partner, Bay Sherman & Craig, LLP/Media Consulting Group. The data came from 20 B-to-B companies of varying sizes.

Reach Gordon Hughes, ABM president & CEO, at (212) 661-6360 or; Richard Mead, JEGI managing director, at (212) 754-0710 or

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