Thursday, May 31, 2007 discontinued

Today it is the end of the month. Time to close off a number of matters. The most painful decision of this month is calling off the, the Dutch language multimedia competition. But as the number of entries stayed far behind expectations, the governors of the Foundation called off the competition. The entries sent in will have to be returned; the entry charges will have to be refunded and the site will be closed. It is a real pity, but the governors had to deal with reality: few entries, no competition.

It would have been the fifth edition of the multimedia competition. The started in 2003. Following the example of the European version of the Europrix, the idea to set up a regional edition came up with the merger of two associations, MMBO and OPPO (now CMBO). The competition was seen as an attention getter and as a measure of professional performance by companies in the multimedia industry. The competition got off to a flying start for the first edition with the help of the Chambers of Commerce in Hilversum; the latter two editions received much assistance from the RIVIO department of the HRO college in Rotterdam, offering the venue and the catering.

Last year the was also called off. More than one reason could have been offered for the low amount of entries. The governors had changed the categories and had brought these in line with the categories of the World Summit Award (WSA). From experience with the WSA it was known that particular categories would draw few or no entries at all such as the category e-health, for example. But given the fact the categories cover well the developments in e-content; more entries could have been expected. Another change was the higher entry fee. In order to cover the costs, the governors had raised the entry fee for companies and institutions. But this hardly proved to be the case in talks the governors had with prospects. Another problem could have been the public relations. was not a heavily sponsored competition. In the previous editions a few sponsors had come forward which offered help in kind.

There are of course more intangible factors: the state of the economy, the fragmentation of the multimedia industry and the number of competitions... When the governors called off the competition last year, they blamed the aftermath of the economic dip of the past years. During hard economic times companies have a hard time to survive. They do not have assignments to enter of they can not spent the money and the time preparing entries. A discussion on this point was started with Bert van Dijk of the Frontrunner blog and journalist for the Dutch financial Daily.
The fragmentation in the Dutch multimedia industry might be another handicap. The Netherlands have a long tradition in ‘new media’ ranging from ASCII databases, videotext, CDs to Internet. Whenever a new technology came up, new awards were being handed out. And as the industry starts to segment, awards are handed out for segments. Presently cross-media is the fashion word, so cross-media awards are given out. And interactive marketing and advertising is the booming segment, so awards for that segment are handed out. But a real umbrella award competition will not make it and will not be stimulated by the ministry of economic affairs or any government agency.

The governors called off the multimedia competition for the second time. The competition in this form will not be started up again. Perhaps the foundation will concentrate next year on the students and young producers up to 30 years. But again this can only be done with the help of the sponsors, colleges and instructors. As far as a competition for companies and institutes is concerned, the will be discontinued.

Blog Posting Number: 770

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