The end for the Photokina


Koelnmesse is not continuing the photo and video fair The end for the Photokina

Author / editor: dpa-AFX / Ira Zahorsky

After seven decades, the traditional photo and video fair Photokina will no longer be continued. The event will be “suspended until further notice”, announced the Koelnmesse on Friday in the cathedral city.

Koelnmesse announced the end of the Photokina photo and video fair. (Image: Koelnmesse)

The company cited “the continued massive decline in the markets for imaging products” as the reason. There are no plans to let Photokina take place again with possibly better industry perspectives. Koelnmesse boss Gerald Böse said that the general conditions in the industry unfortunately did not offer a solid basis for further alignment.

The first “Photo Cinema Exhibition” took place in 1950, when electronic flash lights and 35mm film format were eye-catchers. In the early days, for example, Federal Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard (CDU) was a speaker and was enthusiastic about the innovations. Photokina quickly developed into the leading event in its industry and remained that way for decades. But with digitization, the industry and with it the trade fair came under pressure – instead of reaching for high-priced SLR cameras, more and more people were using their cell phones for taking photos. The camera market shrank, the number of providers at the Cologne fair declined.

In recent years, the organizers wanted to turn things around and make the event more attractive for younger target groups – digital image processing and smartphone photography moved more into focus. The fair format was reduced from six to four days.

But the prospects remained bleak. “Even before the corona pandemic, the imaging market was in great flux, with double-digit annual declines,” said Koelnmesse Managing Director Oliver Frese, who is responsible for operational business. This negative dynamic “intensified massively” in 2020. The Photo Industry Association was also on board at the fair. Its chairman Kai Hillebrandt spoke of an “unfortunately inevitable step”. At its last event in 2018, 180,000 visitors came. Photokina was supposed to take place again in 2020, but was postponed to May 2022. But now came the end for the public fair.


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