Essex-based organiser Media 10 has a lot to answer for in the events industry. Rebels, radicals and risk-takers might be one way of defining them – and they’re just the positive descriptions.
Over the last 10 years, they have stirred up the industry by pushing the boundaries with creative ideas, and breaking new ground.
A recent example of the organiser striving to set a benchmark for the industry is the Queen’s Coronation Festival. Buckingham Palace’s 30-acre gardens opened up to 60,000 visitors on 11-14 July, in the first commercially led event ever held in the grounds for Royal Warrant Holders (RWH).
“We knew it’d be a tricky event to put on, not only because of the size and scale but because we knew we would be breaking new ground,” Media 10 CEO Lee Newton told EN.
Shown around the site two years ago, the only information the company was given was that it could use the garden for an event in July 2013 to celebrate RWH and the Queen’s Coronation.
“That’s all they said to us. They said you need to come up with a complete concept, we’re just giving you the platform to do it,” added Newton.
Suzy Pallett, event director at Media 10 said that from the start, Media 10 demonstrated the credentials that makes the team so special.
“We triumphed in a seven-way pitch to organise the event, impressing with presentations and proposals that showcased the company’s creativity, flamboyance and unprecedented level of awards,” said Pallett.
The festival featured evening galas steered by classical music promoter and impresario Raymond Gubbay, and kicked off with a musical journey from 1953 to the present day. The programme reflected the commonwealth’s musical prowess across the Queen’s reign and incorporated scenes from significant British screen successes too, from The Avengers to James Bond.
“Media 10 offers a unique approach to organising events, with all key departments being held in-house, including, marketing, features, design and sales. This enables us to offer the strong support team an event of this nature requires,” Pallett told EN.
Media 10 started out as, and continues to be, a privately owned company, having formed 10 years ago, based “proudly” in Loughton, Essex. Teamed with his entrepreneurial flair and passion, Newton brought together 10 of the best people he knew in the industry and in 2003, he called his team Media 10.
The share-holding directors include Richard Morey, Tim Garwood, Jane Musgrove, Lee Moore, Darren Newton, Justin Levett, Eric Wenham, Mike Dynan and Rob Nathan.
“We are a well-humoured company, we like a lot of fun. Everything we do at work is fun,” said Newton. “It’s just what we’re all about, and we promote it heavily in our company – I think other people see that come through in everything we do. People say it’s the passion, it’s the passion that drives us. It really is.”
At the Exhibition News awards held in April this year, Giles Perry from Media 10 won Best Event Director, and the team chose to celebrate in their own way, donning masks of another member of their team. No questions asked.
Media 10 also won Best Consumer Show for Grand Designs Live London, that claimed its best ever year with ABC-audited figure of 111,694 visitors. Held at Excel in May, the ninth show surpassed 2012’s total attendance of 105,509.
“To follow last year’s record numbers with yet another increase in visitor numbers shows that the exhibition is going from strength to strength, with no sign of abating,” said Media 10 group marketing director Rob Nathan. “This rise is testament to the team that works so hard on ensuring it is a show that continues to evolve, offering exemplary content to visitors and this is reflected in rebook rates as well as footfall.”
The 2013 exhibition was the biggest to date, with the event showcasing more than 500 companies, across six different sections - Interiors, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Gardens, Build, Technology, and Food.
Media 10 revealed the show next year will have a 15 per cent increase in floor space at The NEC, expanding into hall 4 as well as taking all of hall 5 – the biggest hall at the venue.
The team has since followed on from the UK success of Grand Designs Live, which was originally started in 2005, by transforming the show into a globally-recognised brand launching in Johannesburg, Sydney and Melbourne over the last three years.
In 2009, the Ideal Home Show was sold to Media 10 – just over 100 years after the famous show was first launched. Previously owned by DMG World Media, it was the first time in the show’s history that ownership had changed hands, and provided Media 10 with an ample opportunity of making a name for itself.
Media 10 re-launched the show in 2010, maintaining the heritage and reputation as one of the great British events of the year. The team has since added its own brand expertise and creativity to the Ideal Home Show, “with direct face-to-face contact with over half a million home-interest consumers each year, coupled with an unrivalled database of millions of home-loving British people,” according to Newton.
The Ideal Home Show also had a record year in 2013, attracting 250,655 visitors and 640 exhibitors.
“This year’s Ideal Home Show was undoubtedly the best we have put on,” said Newton.
“Not only were the exhibitor numbers at record levels but they built bigger and better stands, visitor numbers were five per cent up meaning that even with snow on the ground we got the numbers and, most importantly, they spent money. This was reflected in our highest rebook level ever of 60 per cent.”
A highlight of the show was the Only Fools and Horses exhibit which featured props from the classic BBC sitcom. Again, no questions asked.
The last three years has seen the show expand to include a Christmas edition as well as an event in Scotland. The organiser has recently announced that EventCity in Manchester will play host to two new editions of the Ideal Home Show in 2014.
The new events are aiming to attract more than 35,000 visitors each, and will be a significant consumer exhibition in the North.
“We are looking forward to bringing the Ideal Home Show to EventCity in Manchester in 2014, which will hopefully boost the consumer exhibitions market and provide visitors with a chance to experience the iconic show in Manchester for the first time,” said Newton.
“Media 10 continues to build on the success of the Ideal Home Show brand and we are proud to be able to bring this unique and award-winning show to Manchester.”
With a turnover approaching £40m, Media 10 has seen remarkable growth since formation at a time when the high-street has seen numerous high-profile casualties.
The new launch of 100% Optical is an example of how Media 10 use the approach of putting business and consumers together to create an event. The show is claimed to be London’s first annual eye show, which will be held on 16-18 February 2014 at Excel.
“London hasn’t had a large scale optical event,” said event manager Nathan Garnett. “You can go around Europe, and look at Paris, Milan, Munich as well as New York and even Asia – all the major cities have an optical event. We felt London deserved one. A lot of eyewear brands and equipment manufacturers said the same thing, that there should be a large scale optical London-based event.”
More than 8,000 international visitors are expected to attend the inaugural show, including buyers, designers, optometrists, practitioners, surgeons and students. Features of the new show will include conferences with leading industry speakers, Ask an Optical Expert, Equipment Workshops and Design Schools, Fashion events and a VIP buyer lounge.
Other events in Media 10’s portfolio include 100% Design, Clerkenwell Design Week, Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model Live, and Design Shanghai.
Although Media 10 has come a long way in the last five years in the events industry, during a time when the economic downturn tired out many competitors, the company has also owned and published a series of magazines. These include; Icon, Grand Designs, On Office, The Selfbuilder, The Clerkenwell Post, and M the music magazine.
“Marrying the retailer and consumer in this way has been a win-win for all concerned and the success of these events and products has enabled us to launch more and more both here and overseas,” said Newton.
According to the organiser, it is Newton’s commitment to not be constrained by the limitations of a five-year business plan that has enabled the growth of a portfolio of its successful magazines, exhibitions and brands.
The company’s revenues have tripled in the last five years, from £10m to more than £30m today and profits have increased five-fold, to £3m.
The team has also grown and in the matter of a decade has seen 10 staff in a converted house in Epping grow to 200 employees in the Loughton office. Next year’s target is to reach £50m and to remain privately owned.
Newton is adamant the team will not be pigeon-holed into one key area of expertise, and has his heart set on simple plans, “to keep growing and to continue to invest in short-term ideas that are here for the long term.”
“We try and call all of our exhibitions ‘events’ because we think they’re much more,” said Newton.
“Part of it is an exhibition, part of it is a performance, part of it’s a feature. We have no set rules going. We always strive for more.
“I think that’s why Media 10 events are so successful.”
This was first published in the September issue of EN. Any comments? Email email@example.com