Despite its difficulties, 2015 saw many positives for PLASA. At PLASA Media, Lighting&Sound International celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015, having been confirmed by research completed by Fusion Insight & Strategy as the market leading magazine and by far the number one choice of readers in the marketplace. LSi also welcomed a new media sales team: commercial manager Andrew Organ and business development manager Greg Morley have quickly settled into their roles, and 2016 is shaping up to be LSi's most successful year for some time.
At PLASA Media in the US, now in its 13th year, Lighting&Sound America magazine enjoyed a record-breaking year of loyal advertiser and reader support and continues to be one of the most highly regarded industry publications in the North American market.
Within the Events Division the PLASA Focus shows have gone from strength to strength. The second edition of PLASA Focus Glasgow (20-21 January 2016) will welcome 50% more brands than its launch event in December 2013, while the hugely successful PLASA Focus Leeds has already seen a 20% growth with the addition of a new pavilion to meet exhibitor demand, building further on the phenomenal success of the 2015 show.
The PLASA Show in London made the major announcement of its new proposition to provide an exhibition solution more suited to current industry needs. 2016 will see the show back in the heart of London in Olympia and returning to a September dateline - a move backed by 85% of the show's audience. With live demo opportunities for the audio and lighting sectors, plus live product shoot-outs, technical workshops and training sessions, networking sessions, conferences, topical seminars and the much loved social element of the show returning, 2016 is set to kick-start a successful new era for the industry led PLASA Show.
Of course, PLASA is first and foremost a trade association, and the PLASA Board has been working directly with the PLASA staff to launch benefits that better reflect the changing needs of the membership. The most immediate focus will be member-only events including industry seminars, backstage tours and social gatherings. These will include, in February, a networking event based around an informal panel discussion, focussing on what 2016 may have in store for the industry. There will also be events including backstage tours of the refurbished Sadler's Wells Theatre in London (March 2016) and the Royal Shakespeare Company's venues in Stratford-upon-Avon (May 2016).
A recent membership meeting with heads of departments at UK Trade & Investment was the first step in relationship building aimed at increasing awareness and support for exporting companies. Richard Parry, Head of Experience Economy at UKTI, said: "There are clear opportunities for UKTI and PLASA to work together, both in the fields of major sports events and the world of experiences such as live events, visitor attractions and museums."
Among the Association's other member service activities, PLASA's Technical Resources Office has worked with the industry for two years on producing the revised Safety of Display Lasers Guidance. The objective is to replace the Health and Safety Executive's HS(G)95 guidance that has been in use since 1996. This has involved many interested parties including the display laser industry, the HSE, local authorities, Public Health England, venue safety advisers, broadcast safety advisers and Insurance providers. The consultation period closed on 11 December 2015 and comments are now under review with an anticipated publication date for