The tenth edition of Mediatech Africa delivered on its promise to ignite the imagination of exhibitors and visitors alike during its three-day run at the TicketPro Dome in Johannesburg, between 17 and 19 July.

Mediatech Africa 2019 enjoyed strong support from exhibitors and visitors alike, despite trying economic conditions in the region. The show drew record crowds – attracting 7 700 unique visitors from four continents, representing a six percent increase in attendance since the last iteration of the show. The Mediatech showroom floor played host to one hundred exhibitors, representing some of the leading local distributors and an impressive contingent of international equipment manufacturers and suppliers, who showcased an array of cutting–edge technologies and products on their company stands.

Commenting on the depth of the exhibitors present, Mediatech show director, Simon Robinson says,

“We are proud to confirm that more than 30 international equipment manufacturers had their own brand presence at Mediatech Africa 2019, demonstrating a strong vote of confidence not only in the show but in the African market as a whole.”

A GLOBAL EVENT FOR AFRICA

As an expo, Mediatech Africa presents the only opportunity for major players in six niche sectors to view and assess the latest media and entertainment technologies on home ground. The event showcases the same advanced technologies seen at the likes of international events such as Prolight+Sound and ISE, and presents a rare networking opportunity for sector professionals from across the continent. According to Robinson, the exhibitors, many of whom participate in every Mediatech Africa, reported that the 2019 edition was as slick as any comparable event abroad.

“Mediatech Africa prides itself in providing a platform for engagement not only for the South African market but for the continent as a whole. We had visitors from all over Africa, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Nigeria and Namibia – many of who came to the show to seek out professional tech solutions to support the continent’s rapidly growing commercial, broadcast and live events markets,” says Robinson.

He goes on to state that most of the exhibitors at Mediatech understand the needs of the African market, and showcase products and solutions that are designed to meet the market conditions. “There are several large-scale tradeshows on the international circuit which serve as a platform for the world’s leading product manufacturers to launch new products and solutions. What differentiates Mediatech Africa is that most of the exhibitors at the large international tradeshows showcase technologies that have been developed with Western markets in mind. At Mediatech Africa, exhibitors take into account the market that they are addressing and showcase solutions that are designed to meet our unique performance demands and cost requirements.”


PRESENTING THE LATEST TRENDS

Mediatech Africa is held every two years, making the 2019 edition of the show the tenth iteration in 18 years. Robinson points out that this allows for technology to mature significantly between editions. “Holding the show on a 24-month cycle ensures that visitors are guaranteed to see something new,” Robinson points out. True to form, the show did not disappoint on the technology front, with many exhibitors presenting new products and solutions for the first time in Africa. “The rate at which technology is developing across verticals is phenomenal, particularly if one considers the rapid evolution of IP-based technologies, which continue to dominate across verticals,” states Robinson.

Among the vast array of new technologies on display was an outstanding demonstration of the progress that has been made in cinematography using drone technology. Timeslice Cinematography held demonstrations of how they are producing world-class footage for international film productions using their high-powered state-of-the-art drones at the outdoor Drone Zone. Graham Terrell, of Johannesburg-based rigging company Film Riggers, impressed with a demonstration of their unique computer-controlled cable-suspended camera system, called TopShot, that allows for the world-class filming of sports events, using affordable and locally developed technology. 

Ruan Joubert, product manager at Surgesound, states that the company sees Mediatech as an ideal platform to present new products to the market. “We are very excited about the range of new products that we exhibited at Mediatech Africa. This is the first time that we represented the internationally renowned manufacturer, Solid State Logic at the show, and we are excited to see how the market responds.”

IGNITING THE INDUSTRY

Robinson’s astute insight into the professional tech market has been honed over the almost two decades that he has served as Mediatech Africa show director. “It would be remiss not to acknowledge that South Africans are struggling to overcome mounting economic pressures and there are few, if any, in the country who have not been directly affected by the current economic downturn,” he reflects. Robinson, however, points out that Mediatech Africa 2019 provided a critical platform for professionals to interact with international representatives and showcase the strength of the local industry.

While there were fewer exhibitors in comparison to years’ past, the show still managed to exceed expectations on all fronts. “The feedback that we have received from exhibitors and visitors alike has been unprecedented,” says Robinson. 

Managing director of TV Audio, Peter Berry told ETECH that Mediatech provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to showcase what the proAV industry is capable of in South Africa. “We have been exhibiting at Mediatech Africa for many years, and the quality of the show only seems to improve year-on-year. In my opinion, the show is critical to the success of the industry in the region, as it provides an opportunity for the local industry to foster confidence from international suppliers and manufacturers while stimulating business among local buyers.” Gearhouse Group of Company’s Johannesburg branch operations manager, Stuart Andrews concurs. “It is very easy to be negative in the South African industry as a whole at present, as one cannot ignore the fact that the economy is subdued, and we are all struggling for work. Is a positive sign that people are still willing to meet with their clients, suppliers and manufacturers at their Mediatech stands, because it indicates that, despite uncertain times, we are still open for business. By supporting the show, we all demonstrate a commitment to the South African industry and the continent as a whole.”

“Mediatech provides an opportunity to demonstrate the high levels of professionalism, skill and dedication so entrenched in the South African market. Despite the trying times, the expo provides an opportunity to ignite confidence in the market and our industry,” Robinson states.

Robinson concludes that the level of excitement on the showroom floor was evident from the moment he and his team opened the doors, to the point at which they had to ask all visitors to leave the floor on Friday evening. “When the market is under pressure, and we’re all feeling the pinch, it’s easy to become despondent. However, when one sees the enthusiasm, optimism and drive expressed by our industry partners and visitors to the show, one’s faith in the promise of a strong and thriving industry in Africa is easily restored. This show laid the foundations for an incredible exhibition in 2021, where we will continue to build on the formulae for success that we have built over the last ten shows. We look forward to seeing what the next iteration of Mediatech Africa will bring.