2010 will see the first eroFame Show in Germany. A purely trade event the eroFame trade fair offers an alternative to the long established Venus erotic event. There has been much debate in the adult industry about what effect eroFame will have on the future of Venus and the wider adult industry in Europe.
We were lucky enough to be allowed to interview Wieland Hofmeister, General Manager of the MPG eroFame GmbH and man at the helm of the eroFame project.
The creation of eroFame has caused quite a stir in the adult world. Do you think the status quo, over a decade of Venus Berlin, needed a shake-up?
While our decision to try something different with the eroFame has certainly created a big buzz, the organisers never intended to create additional tension on the market – or add to the tension that already existed on the market. And, about your question: A look at the exhibitors’ list – at the great quantity and even greater quality of the companies from all over the world who have already decided to come to the eroFame – shows that there must be a desire in the industry to shake up the status quo. The feedback that we have been receiving thus far is phenomenal. Both the industry and the international trade seem to be very excited.
Where did the impetus for the eroFame concept come from? How has it evolved since you first conceived the idea?
The idea for this event was born within the industry and the trade. There were lots of conversations, and finally the decision was made to have this new trade fair that caters to the specific demands of both parties – trade and industry. Very soon, it became clear what was expected from this event. Therefore, it needed to:
- Be a modern b2b trade fair
- Be only for trade members
- Offer free admission for registered trade members
- Take place in an attractive location
- Offer plenty of opportunity for in-depth conversations in a relaxed business atmosphere
- Be appealing to market leaders from all over the world among the exhibitors
- Offer a favourable cost-benefit perspective for exhibitors
• Offer an attractive and affordable partner hotel in the vicinity of the fairgrounds
- Offer a shuttle bus to the partner hotel
- Offer a shuttle bus to the Venus trade fair
- Offer a subject-specific seminar programme
So we set out to give the trade and the industry what they want. We took these wishes to heart, and they have not been diluted.
Can you explain to readers who do not know anything about eroFame how it differs from the Venus Show in respect of trade and consumer emphasis.
The eroFame is a pure business event, i.e. there will be no shows, no loud music, and, naturally, no consumers at the trade fair. The concept caters to the needs and wishes of the trade. There will be a relaxed atmosphere, and there will be plenty of space and time to do business with your partners, suppliers, or customers. And the service will also live up to the expectations of the industry. There will be free admittance, for instance, and a shuttle bus to take the visitors of the eroFame to our partner hotel or the Venus trade fair. And, naturally, there will also be free food and drink. And, to top things off, we can promise all the guests a series of interesting, informative lectures and seminars.
Naturally, we will also see to it that the guests and exhibitors enjoy themselves in the evening. On Tuesday, there will be Get Together Party. On Wednesday, there’s the glamorous EROTIXXX Award show, and on Thursday, we’ll have a big event party.
I hope you don’t mind if I also rhapsodise about the venue a little, because it is truly spectacular, and it adds a very unique feel to the event. The Metropolis Halle in Potsdam has already hosted many big conventions, trade fairs, galas, and TV productions. It is situated in Babelsberg, Germany’s media city, in the immediate vicinity of the Filmstudio Babelsberg and the Filmpark Babelsberg. It was named after Fritz Lang’s classic Metropolis, which was shot right there in 1926. So there will be an air of movie history at this very first eroFame trade convention. And I am sure that the film park and the film studio will also fascinate many of the visitors.
Why is it that so many long-standing Venus exhibitors have decided to switch to eroFame in its first year? It seems strange that they should abandon an established and world famous event and instead exhibit at the “new kid on the block”.
For one, the concept of the eroFame was met with great enthusiasm from the very beginning. And then we’ve also had the fortune of being supported by several big and influential companies (Orion, S&T Rubber, Joydivision, pjur and also Beate Uhse / Scala/Playhouse and ZBF). Those companies also form a sort of event council, by the way. These big names create a lot of attention and made our trade fair that much more attractive to would-be exhibitors. What might also have plaid a role was the fact that many companies were not really happy with the trade fair situation in the past. The unfortunate eis.de affair also drove several exhibitors away from the Venus. I think those are the main reasons for the great support the eroFame has got from so many renowned companies in such a short period of time.
If exhibitors feel that the show didn’t meet with their expectations this year how are you going to address that?
Well, we mustn’t forget that the eroFame takes place for the very first time this year. It would be naïve to think that everything will be perfect the first time round. But, of course, our success this year will be crucial for the future. We have been in close contact with the exhibitors, and we will continue to consult with them before, during, and after the event. Dissatisfied exhibitors equals no more eroFames, it’s really as simple as that. The organisers will listen to the demands of any exhibitor, big or small, and will do their utmost to solve every problem.
How do you feel that the organisers of Venus have reacted to eroFame and what do you think to their public responses?
It was obvious that the Venus team would not just curl up and leave the field to us. The question is: Do you fight fairly or do you resort to low blows? Well, either way, the eroFame has braved all difficulties thanks to the extraordinary support from the trade. Therefore, a lot of what has happened was like water off a duck’s back, it did not hurt us. Our goal is to offer the trade a concept that takes into consideration the current situation on the market and in the economy, and to create an event that lives up to the expectations of exhibitors and visitors from all over the world.
Do you think Venus were taken by surprise when eroFame was first discussed and then announced? Do you believe that they thought they could continue as they had always done and exhibitors would simply keep turning up?
Well, that’s a question you should ask the Venus folks. I can only speculate. I don’t think that they were surprised when the eroFame idea came up, however. There were lots of talks between the involved parties beforehand. As far as the second question is concerned, I feel that there has been a constant sense of dissatisfaction among the exhibitors that the Venus organisers ignored. And there might also have been some developments in the industry that this fair failed to pay mind to. This “arms race” with bigger and bigger fair stands is not economically feasible any more. We have to adapt to the situation the entire market is faced with. The Venus fair came up with a “new” concept, but way too late. They could not win back the companies they had already driven away.
Besides, the decision to make eis.de a sponsor was both unfortunate and insensitive. If you organise the world’s biggest erotic trade fair you should be more careful.
Do you think that Venus will have any trade halls next year?
I can’t really answer that question. If we’ve done our homework properly and the eroFame becomes a success for everyone involved, things might get tougher for the Venus.
What might also happen is that the Venus organisers make their event even more consumer-oriented. After all, there are several successful b2c events in the erotic market, just like there are successful b2b trade fairs – such as the ETO Show in Great Britain or the ANME Founders Show in the United States.
Can Venus continue with almost no trade halls and fewer consumer stands?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how that develops. Again, you should probably ask the Venus organisers about that. As far as the eroFame is concerned, the focus is on renowned exhibitors. Nobody should be led astray by the mere numbers. Quality instead of quantity, that’s the motto. We want to organise an event that matters. And if you take a look at the exhibitors’ list, you’ll see that every big, important company in the industry will come to Babelsberg this October. And these illustrious names will attract many trade members.
The first year of any event will highlight problems with organisational issues, venues and logistics what have you as organisers done to minimise these problems?
Well, as I already mentioned: You can’t expect everything to be perfect the very first time. Small mishaps and slips are bound to happen, and after the event the organising team will be all the wiser and ready to do even better next year. Our team is made up of seasoned event managers who have years of experience in the trade fair business – some of them have been involved with the erotika fair in Cologne, the Hamburg Messe, etc.. They have the necessary know how and they work hard to make the eroFame the most satisfying event it could possibly be.
Sorry if I’ve missed this but will there be wireless (Wi-Fi) Internet access in the halls? Are there any other special features that you would like to tell the readers about?
We are currently discussing this issue with our partners and the stand builders. But, of course, there will be Internet access. Very soon, we will send info folders to all the exhibitors. We’ve covered all the aspects of the fair in there, so there should be no questions left unanswered.
We’re looking forward to attending eroFame and Venus this autumn and will let you know how things work out.