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. Despite the challenges of a shrinking economy – the 2019 expo was well supported with a strong exhibitor profile. 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 who showcased their most cutting–edge 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.”
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 NAB, 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 similar 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 a number of 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 costing requirements.”
The final day of the show was the highpoint for the finalists in the MasterMix competition for sound engineers – who eagerly awaited the results of the visitor voting which took place during the show. Competition hopefuls had the opportunity to mix the separates of Refuge, an unreleased Freshlyground track. A really funky upbeat multi-instrumental track with brass, piano, guitar and more, and a reggae influence; the piece was an instant hit with voters who moved with the rhythm as they listened to the eight shortlisted entries.
The ultimate winner was announced at The Academy of Sound Engineers (ASE) stand with Gavan Eckhart walking away with top honours. Eckhart received an ASE bursary valued at R100 000 and a selection of gear sponsored by Wild and Marr valued at R30 000.
A studio owner, sound engineer and producer, Eckhart has worked with the cream of the South African music industry – recording and mixing for industry giants like Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Soweto Gospel Choir, and Freshly Ground. He also tours with top South African and international bands providing great live mixes for a diverse listenership. He has been nominated for a SAMA for Miriam Makeba’s ‘Reflections’, as well as a Golden Reel Award for the soundtrack to ‘Book of Negros’.
With an already well established and illustrious career on track, Eckhart generously donated the bursary back to the ASE so that a deserving up and coming student can benefit from his prize.
With over 72 hours of educational talks, demonstrations and events – Mediatech Africa provides exhibitors with the ideal platform to educate the greater market. On the other hand, visitors who took up the endless show opportunities left the expo upskilled and educated on all the latest innovations in tech trends in their respective vertical. These presentations are a good mix of education and entertainment and they add enormous value to visitors.
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 across all six show verticals to interact with international representatives and showcase the strength of the local industry.
“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 in our industry,” Robinson states.
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.
“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. The level of excitement on the showroom floor was evident from the moment we opened the doors to the point at which we 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, ones 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 10 shows. We look forward to seeing what the next iteration of Mediatech Africa will bring,” concludes Robinson.
Mediatech – the tech trade show shaping the way creativity: Inspires. Innovates. Delivers.