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IPM 13: The Challenges of Expanding Markets

The 13th ILMC Production Meeting got underway with a discussion about the challenges and opportunities involved in touring emerging markets

By IQ on 04 Mar 2020

IPM 13: The Challenges of Expanding Markets: Central & eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa

Following an introduction by this year’s day host, Rod Laver Arena’s Meagan Walker, the 13th ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) got underway with a discussion about the challenges and opportunities involved in touring non-traditional, ‘expanding’ markets.

Ian Greenway of London-based production company LarMac Live, which works across the Middle East (including the UAE and, more recently, Saudi Arabia), emphasised that it’s essential western companies “don’t just turn up” to emerging markets, “put a zero on our quotes and run for the hills” – but rather lend their expertise and help put local crews on a solid footing for a sustainable future. “We need to make sure we leave these markets with a sense of self-esteem,” he explained.

Turning to the situation in the far east, panel chair Roger Barrett, of Star Events, drew a distinction between China and south-east Asia: In the former, he said, you can rent any of the equipment (largely local copies) you need for a major show, and nearly all production companies are staffed by full-time crew, with next to no freelancers available.

South-east Asia, meanwhile – because of the limited number of major shows – “what we’re seeing now are a couple of companies based in Malaysia who have fairly well-trained crews who can turn their hand to pretty much anything,” Barrett explained, “and they’re travelling throughout south-east Asia. That’s a situation that’s really interested and has only developed over last 12 months or so.”

“It’s essential western companies don’t just turn up to emerging markets, put a zero on our quotes and run for the hills”

Production Pool’s Sanjin Corovic, a promoter-turned-production manager, described the unique situation in Serbia, which is surrounded by European Union countries but is itself outside the EU (drawing parallels with the post-Brexit UK), while Megaforce’s Brigitte Fuss and Bümo’s Schlanky Schilling, both based in Germany, spoke on their companies’ activities in eastern Europe.

Speaking from the audience, Jeff Burke from ES Global emphasised the opportunities in Japan, where ES is delivering part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. “We’ve realised it really is the land of opportunity,” he explained. “They’re a contracting marketplace: the general population is getting older and there are no young people to work in the business we’re working in, so there’s a big gap. We identified that as an opportunity – and when the Olympics are done, we’re going to have a substantial business there.”

Often the most important thing when entering a new market is to make contact with the local consulate, said XD Motion’s Neil Levett, while ASM Global’s Tim Worton predicted India as the next land of opportunity: “They’re going to build a phenomenal number of venues,” he explained, “as it’s completely underserviced” beyond cricket stadia and Bollywood-specific venues.

Returning to Greenway’s point about the importance of investing in local markets, Star Live’s Pete Holdich stressed the benefits for everyone of driving up standards globally. “If we leave a legacy of training local people, of bringing them up to the standards we’d expect to see, that’s only going to benefit us all,” he said.

 


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