The Paris Audio Video Show 2022

“Blast From The Past” or “Back To the Future”?

By Roy Gregory

Shows are back, but like the rest of the audio world, they are also confronting existential questions. In many respects, the Paris Audio Show (November the 5th to 7th) was both a blast from the past and a reminder of where so many shows have been going wrong – at least in the UK and US.

Since the demise of CES Las Vegas in the US (at least, its demise as an audio as opposed to technology show) and the original Hi-Fi News show in the UK (not to be confused with the current, pale imitation), neither of these markets has enjoyed a genuine national event. Instead, we’ve seen a proliferation of small, regional shows – and that’s a problem, because the nature of those shows, as well as the platform they provide, is entirely different to the profile and status of a recognised national show. The sheer number of competing, regional events means that even major manufacturers or distributors don’t have the resources or bandwidth to attend them all. Instead, the default solution has been to rely on a local dealer to represent the brand. The trouble is, that dealer is almost certainly going to have multiple commitments, meaning that any one brand might get a unit or two into the demo system – which is a world away from a full-line presentation or presence. He (or she) will also be focussed on the show as a sales opportunity, a chance to engage with more customers and sell them more stuff.

That’s as problematic for end-users as it is for the brand managers. It robs customers of the chance to engage on a wider or higher level with a product line or company they might be interested in. There’s no opportunity to experience a range of products from the same line, discuss their various virtues with the people behind them, or delve deeper into the performance of a product you already own. In fact, it offers none of the things that used to make shows special as far as the public were concerned.