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CeBit America 2005 canceled

Organizers say they cut the trade show because there wasn't enough revenue to justify a third year.

Trade show CeBit America 2005 has been canceled, despite growing enthusiasm and a shrinking field of competing shows.

Hannover Fairs USA announced on Monday that it will remove the show from its schedule of events, because it is unable to make enough revenue to justify a third year. CeBit America 2005, whose Web site is still live, was to take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from June 28 to June 30, 2005.

"Though regrettable, this is the correct business decision," Joachim Schafer, president of Hannover Fairs USA, said in a statement. "It is really a reflection of a changing high-tech industry as well as the overall U.S. economy."

Hannover Fairs USA sells floor space to American companies for the CeBit show in Hannover, Germany--the world's largest business technology trade fair. CeBit stands for Centrum der Buero- und Informationstechnik--in English, that's the Center for Office and Information Technology.

"Having Xbox next to flat panels next to servers doesn't work."
--Bill Sell, VP of brand and customer development, CeBit America
Employees of the show were caught off guard by the news, said Bill Sell, vice president of brand and customer development for CeBit America. But, he added, "It just seems a one-size-fits-all show doesn't do it."

Sell said more targeted shows were necessary to make it relevant to attendees, sellers, media and analysts. "You need to make it worth it to people, and having Xbox next to flat panels next to servers doesn't work."

Sell added that smaller vertical shows would likely be better at catching the limited number of dollars coming from big companies who have scaled back quite a bit on trade show spending and advertising.

CeBit America was trying to narrow its target audience by focusing on the large business market, often referred to as the enterprise. Turnout for the show in the first year was about 15,000.

He said there was still a place in the United States for that kind of show, and with Comdex postponing its 2004 show and building off what it already accomplished, he said he thought CeBit America 2005 would be successful.

"We were making some significant progress; some pretty significant partnerships that weren't announced yet," Sell said.

As far as having the show return in 2006, Sell said, "when you leave a market, you're really saying you're shutting down...It's very difficult to bring it back after a one-year-or-more hiatus."

Hannover Fairs USA will look for opportunities focusing on well-defined vertical markets, Schafer said in a statement.

Other CeBit events, such as CeBit Asia, CeBit Australia, CeBit Bilisim Eurasia, CeBit Broadcast, Cable & Satellite, and ISCe Satellite & Communications, will not be affected by the CeBit America division, according to the company.