Evolving IDEA calls it a day as mobiles win out

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IDEA, organisers of Australia's Digital Show, have decided to wind up the association in 2022, "whether they've run out of money or not".

Established 1985, and registered as a charity in 2012, the Imaging & Digital Entertainment Association announced today that it will end operations in June 2022, following a vote at its annual meeting.

The group is currently engaged in a two-stage initiative called Project 2020, under which member companies submit a promotional or advertising concept to which IDEA would contribute sponsorship funding. Five member companies had responded but all had to postpone activity until 2021 because of COVID-19. Projects now to be concluded and sponsorships claimed by March 31, 2022.

The aim was not only to amplify and extend community awareness of photography, videography and related products and services, but to also inspire consumers to recognise the unique features on cameras that are not available on mobile phones. All of allocated industry funds were being used for the initiative to engage and promote imaging.

President James Murray says members concluded that IDEA would not be financially viable beyond Project 2020 without a new income stream of major events such as exhibitions. Previously income had come from member fees and the Digital Show but Murray says as the industry transitioned IDEA's membership base has become smaller.

"Leading up to the current 'preservation of funds' operating mode, IDEA invested heavily to bring new value to the industry, aside from The Digital Show. The launch of D Hub brought together industry marketing minds, while the VIVID partnership to launch the Digital Playground also proved to be a great success.

"However, it became clear that while there was a strong desire for an industry association, the engagement in cooperative activity between brands was diminishing."

The Digital Show went biennial in 2013, but after a "very successful" 2015 event, costs became unsustainable. The 2017 show was postponed, and by 2019 it was evident the show was no longer viable. The 2019 annual meeting voted to wind up operations if preserved funds were exhausted, and this year members decided to close the association by the end of June 2022, regardless. Murray says remaining funds after disbursements will be donated to a charity decided by the directors.

"IDEA has a long and proud history that has focussed on representing our great industry," he says.

Name changes have included the Photographic Industry Council (1977), which became the Photographic Industry Marketing Association, and then the Photographic & Imaging Council of Australia, launched in 1995. As the industry shifted into a new age, the Imaging & Digital Entertainment Association evolved from 2011.

"While 2022 will be the end of an era for IDEA, I would like to acknowledge and thank those members who have not only supported the association's vision over the past four decades, but also the many exceptional industry events that aimed to promote and help drive our category," he said.

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