I started ASE in early 2000. It was a year of optimism for the event industry.
We had survived the Y2K bug (that never was). We had celebrated the dawn of the 21st Century a year before the actual start of the new millennium, and in Sydney we were anticipating the 2000 Olympics.
We are all familiar with the challenges our industry has faced since then. But nothing has challenged our industry like COVID-19.
So where is ASE at in 2021?
All publications are supported by advertisers, subscribers, benefactors or a combination. The main support for ASE has been a benefactor – me. Online publications are relatively inexpensive if run as a basic service.
But to be truly effective a publication needs journalists. I am not a journalist – I’m a storyteller and an opinion writer.
Over the past two decades I’ve paid for various journalists to write about events and people for ASE. Then in 2017 I employed a full time journalist – Bronwen was brilliant at getting to the heart of a story, especially profiles of people and companies. So respected was Bronwen that we had a number of major stories entrusted to us to delve into – C2 Melbourne in particular.
I thought I could get enough advertising support to keep paying for a full time journalist. However that was not to be and Bronwen moved on and I reverted to publishing press releases and a weekly opinion piece.
Then, Black Friday (13th March 2020) when the PM announced the shut down of our industry. The following week most businesses owners and managers were dealing with cancellations or reassessment of their events.
I looked at my source of income via EventPix and quickly realised that I could expect none for the next six months (and that was exactly what happened) and tried to work out a plan.
I launched a live streaming business as part of EventPix (which kicked in in October).
For ASE I continued publishing press releases, most of which were now about how to deal with the situation, and my weekly commentary and assessment of the situation.
A number of people started podcasts and webcasts – these involved “inspirational” or entertaining speakers, industry experts trying to fathom the situation, and so on. I decided on a different tack and started interviewing people I know in the industry. This idea came about from a conversation I had with Meri Took, who talked about how he got started in the industry as a roadie. So the 2020 Podcast Project focussed the backstory that most of us never knew about these people.
I was aiming to interview 20 people in 2020 but when the event photography kicked in again in September I got a bit busy. Hopefully I’ll get back to the interviews soon.
The current situation
- I discovered that ASE readers actually like my rantings and opinions about what is going on. Even if they disagree with me.
- Press releases are distributed to all industry media and most just publish as is – so they tend to pop up in all publications.
- Potential advertisers have either been hammered by the industry shutdown and have no advertising spend, or they have their own mailing lists and excellent EDM platforms to advertise directly to their client base.
- Facebook (thanks to their spat with Murdoch and Morrison) have shut down our page because we are a media company – cutting off one of our distribution platforms.
So what now?
ASE will now publish opinion, commentary, event reports and interviews
- Opinion and commentary from me. I will endeavour to write a weekly opinion piece and I invite you to comment on it – the platform will be easy.
- Opinion and commentary from you. Don’t wait to be asked. If you have something to say about industry issues – submit it. I will provide minimal editing (spelling, grammar, etc) and let you say what you like even if I don’t agree with you – just don’t be libelous.
- Event Reports – you are welcome to submit a story about an event you have produced as long as you follow these guidelines.
- Press Releases promoting products and services you can read elsewhere.
- Press Releases with important industry information will be assessed and published on merit.
- If you are on our mailing list (and if you aren’t – join now) instead of receiving a weekly EDM you will now receive an email alert when an article is published. Obviously these will be random and will not be linking to promo type press releases.
- Social media sharing will be via LinkedIn and Twitter – and maybe Facebook
- Get in touch – email or phone me if you have an issue you would like to add to to the discussion and you are not sure if it is appropriate.
I’m not going to spend a lot of effort chasing advertisers in what is a difficult market. Consequently I will also not be obliged to promote those advertisers.