Mediatech Africa, the largest media and entertainment technology trade show for
southern Africa, will take place this year from 15 to 17 July at the Dome at
Northgate, Johannesburg. Staged biennially, it presents the latest technologies and
trends to southern Africa’s broadcast and film sector and rapidly-growing live event
and AV system integration industries. We spoke to Simon Robinson, the exhibition
director behind the show, to gain some insight into the history and outlook for
Mediatech Africa.

Mediatech Africa started life as a modest industry event way back in 2000, when
the broadcast and film production industry decided to co-ordinate a place where
networking and industry showcasing could take place.

Current exhibition director Simon Robinson recalls the origins: “We started out with
the show made up largely of the local broadcast and film production industry, with
only about 15% of exhibitors coming from the local AV sector. We chose the
Sandton Convention Centre as our first venue, since it was central and well-served
by nearby accommodation and other facilities for our out-of-town and international
visitors. Almost from day one, the show took off and grew as word of mouth spread
in the industry.’

Indeed, says Robinson, by 2007 the show had outgrown the Convention Centre. The
growth was driven largely by the rapidly expanding AV industry presence, and the
corresponding slowing of growth in the broadcast and production sector. “In 2009,’
continues Robinson, “we moved to the Dome in Northgate for more space, but also
to utilise the adjacent outdoor space for professional sound demos. As the show
grew in scope and industry range, we had many more international exhibitors and
visitors. There’s now in the region of 300 exhibitors and delegates from all over the

As Robinson points out, the presence of international manufacturers and vendors,
especially in the AV industry sectors, is significant for Mediatech Africa in two ways:
firstly it acknowledges that the show is on the global radar; and secondly it means
that the manufacturers can offer support to their southern African distribution

In moving to the new venue, 2009 proved to be a turning point for the show. This
was the first time the profile of the show increased enough to include international
manufacturers, and moved onto the radar of the international trade media. A
critical mass had been reached in the SA market, especially in the AV industry,
which was continuing its own healthy growth. This was led by the professional audio
sector, but after 2011, says Robinson, the AV integration sector also began to grow
its presence.

“In recent shows,’ he continues, “our innovations, like a centralised social and
networking area have proven popular, as have our regular professional sound demo
feature, initiated in 2009. This year the demos again offer a unique opportunity for
AV professionals and end users to assess the quality and output of small, medium
and large format speakers. Speakers meeting the needs of organisations scaled
from churches and educational institutions through to major event and concert
companies will be assessed.’

Robinson points to a 10% visitor growth year on year for the show, and 2015’s
version sees the largest ever increase in numbers of international exhibitors.
Another interesting development this year is the presence of more Asian
manufacturers, including Chinese, looking to use Mediatech Africa as a showcase for
regional distribution.

“We are constantly receiving compliments about the organisational maturity and
professionalism of the show,’ concludes Robinson. “Our visitors are very impressed
with the standards set by the show, and we intend to keep improving those
By James Sey