Interview – Raj Manek, Messe Frankfurt Asia

Messe Frankfurt India brings back face-to-face interactions

Messe Frankfurt
Raj Manek, executive director, Messe Frankfurt Asia Holdings. Photo IPP

The 47th edition of Media Expo was held from 18 – 20 November 2021 at India Expo Center, Greater Noida, just across the river from New Delhi. Indian Printer & Publisher correspondent Priyanka Tanwar got a chance to interact with Raj Manek, executive director, Messe Frankfurt Asia Holdings. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:

Indian Printer & Publisher – Is this your first exhibition after the Covid-19 pandemic?

Raj Manek – After two years of no exhibitions, this is our very first exhibition along with LED Expo which is taking place in the other hall. 

IPP – What challenges did you face while organizing the Media Expo New Delhi 2021?

Raj Manek – The biggest challenge is the supply chain – there are a lot of exhibitors who are waiting for parts and everything. That has been our biggest challenge. We have very, very strong loyal customers for the Media Expo. The show is extremely good and it is still good today. I think many of our exhibitors had a supply chain problem.

The second challenge is that it is just the beginning of the new normal, so exhibitors and visitors are now getting the confidence to come back to live events. 

IPP – What special precautions have you taken for Media Expo New Delhi 2021?

Raj Manek – As you can see, we have ensured mandatory mask use. Everybody in the halls is wearing masks across the halls. We have temperature checks at every point. We also have Covid-19 centers. We have ensured social distancing. Everything is contactless now – there is no more form filling. There is contactless entry into the halls. We have invested a lot of money in our systems for registration so that people can smoothly come into the exhibitions without any form filling or touching of any objects.

IPP – What are the areas that you are covering through the Media Expo New Delhi 2021?

Raj Manek – The Media Expo covers a range of printing, signage, and outdoor advertising. All the key players are here – all the big boys of Colorjet, HP, Mehta Cad Cam are here. They are supporting the exhibition in a big way. So, we cover the whole spectrum for the outdoor and indoor signage and the digital side as well.

IIPP – What are your expectations from this event?

Raj Manek – The expectation is that we re-create the platform that has been missed for two years. We bring the industry together with a face-to-face connection and our exhibitors have good interactions with business and we raise morale. Ultimately, we have all been either working from home or working remotely. I just want to get back the feeling of being with your colleagues, your partners, your suppliers, and your friends once again in a face-to-face environment. 

IPP – What are your other upcoming events?

Raj Manek – In 2022, we have a host of events including the Media Expo, LED Expo, and Paper World exhibitions.

IPP – Are you planning to organize any new fairs in the upcoming months?

Raj Manek We have a portfolio of about 12-15 existing fairs and we will continue with those. The new fairs will have to wait till there is a little bit more normality in the marketplace, and then we will, of course, be announcing some new fairs. 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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