October 26, 2005 09:36 ET

Top CE Event IFA To Be Held Annually; Upcoming IFA dates: 1 to 6 September 2006; Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit: 'This Strengthens Berlin's Standing as a Trade Fair Venue and as a Hub for the Med

BERLIN--(CCNMatthews - Oct 26, 2005) -

In future Berlin can look forward to the IFA and to hosting a world-class trade show every year. Encouraged by a dynamic surge in Europe's CE market, European sales of 100 billion euros and double-digit growth, as well as outstanding results at the IFA 2005, the event's organisers Gesellschaft fuer Unterhaltungs- und Kommunikationselektronik (gfu) and Messe Berlin have decided to expand the IFA concept. Both the supervisory board and the directors of the gfu have unanimously decided to hold the IFA every year, a move which follows a recommendation by the directors of the Consumer Electronics Trade Association, part of the industry organisation ZVEI, as well as by leading exhibitors, a majority of whom favour an annual event.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the gfu Dr. Rainer Hecker: "In the years to come the IFA must continue to set the pace in this sector and be a leading international event. The dynamic nature of growth and innovation in this sector requires consistent expansion of a successful concept".

Decisive factors which have influenced this decision are fundamental changes in the CE landscape, brought about by digitisation, and convergence of products, networks and content. The pace of innovation in the CE industry and in IT and telecommunications is speeding up, and increasingly these sectors are converging. As the initial highlight of the retail season the IFA is the most important trade fair for doing business, and in future will be able to take on the role occupied by several minor events. Consumers too are interested in learning about new products at ever shorter intervals. The media will have an important event to talk about every year, and similar trade fairs at international level are also held on an annual basis.

The dates of the upcoming IFA, the world's leading consumer electronics event, are 1 to 6 September 2006, the customary start to the CE retail trade season.

At today's city hall press conference Berlin's Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit, who was heavily in support of an annual event, endorsed the decision as a move which would "strengthen Berlin's standing as a trade fair venue and as a hub for the media world, and give added momentum to the regional economy."

Messe Berlin COO Dr. Christian Goeke stressed that "influencing this decision were the fact that the IFA 2005 was able to strengthen its position as the industry's number one marketing platform and the fact that it was the retail trade's largest European meeting place for business."

Hans-Joachim Kamp, Chairman of the Consumer Electronics Trade Association, part of the industry organisation ZVEI: "Holding the IFA annually on its customary dates at the beginning of the season will further improve its standing as the trade fair for doing business. The IFA is the industry's central marketplace."

Showcase for latest products and a discussion forum

As an annual event the IFA will be even better equipped to occupy the various roles it has taken on over the years. More than before it will be a showcase for the latest products available on the international market, be they HDTV sets, wireless home network systems, triple play solutions or multiple archiving media. In addition to its central role as the retail trade's venue for doing business it will also be a forum for debating new business models and for shaping policies among media decision-makers. And even more than now, for consumers it will be a unique and attractive marketplace to inspect the latest CE offerings and to encounter stars and starlets.

High satisfaction among exhibitors and visitors to the IFA 2005

The fact that visitors to the IFA expressed high satisfaction with this year's event is proof of its emotional appeal and of being able to live the brand experience. The vast majority of the 250,000 visitors were fascinated by the products on show in each segment of CE, IT and telecommunications.

1,202 exhibitors from 40 countries represented a record attendance at this year's IFA. Business in excess of 2.5 billion euros, participation by top-level industry decision-makers from Germany and around the world, 50 per cent of all trade visitors from abroad, these were the outstanding quality features of this year's event. During the six-day show around 1,000 new items and improved products were on display.

IFA - a media event

The IFA's success was due in no small part to worldwide media coverage by international trade magazines, reporting by dailies and business publications, as well as radio and TV. Several thousand journalists from over 70 countries were accredited at the IFA 2005. The overall media response was impressive, underlining the IFA's high standing.

For additional details:

www.ifa-berlin.de www.gfu.de www.messe-berlin.de

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