The second annual World Education Market is in the midst of its final day at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre. The four-day international market, dedicated to the business of education and training, opened on May 21 with the WEM Conference Program (which included a session entitled So Much More Than TV, about the broadening scope of educational television) and will close this afternoon with a series of teaching-related product demonstrations. Over 2000 delegates are in attendance, including representatives from 347 exhibiting companies from 30 countries around the world. Although this year’s WEM has been smaller in scale than last year’s event (which showcased 451 exhibiting companies), business was bustling.
Anthony Utley, director of television distribution at BBC Worldwide describes this year’s market from the floor, ‘WEM seems to have found its level this year. Last year being the first one, nobody was quite sure what to expect, and it wasn’t clear if [the market was focussed on] television or interactive or language learning. Last year [attendees] seemed unsure of what they were supposed to be doing here. I suppose that’s inevitable with any first market. This year it’s not overly busy, but there are worthwhile people here. WEM seems to have found its level, and there is a much greater air of confidence about what’s going on.’
In part, the confident feel of which Utley speaks is attributable to the market’s clarification of focus – namely, on tools that aid education rather than television. Says Utley, ‘My colleagues who are here from publishing, English language training, and foreign language training – anyone involved in the business of non-theatrical education – are doing really well.’ But, he adds, ‘There’s really not a television element here at all.’ This is not to say that WEM isn’t striving to capture the television market. Says Utley, ‘While I’m sure Reed Midem would love WEM to include a big television market, I really think they’re flogging a dead horse in that area.’