Industry Day at the Range – is this the death of Media Day? There would seem to be significant changes coming to Media Day at the Range. Two of them are already in place. Those changes suggest many more to come.
The first change is a new logo, which no longer includes the word media. Instead, it announces the name “Industry Day at the Range.” The second change is the new web address of shotshowrangeday.com. The old address of media-day.com redirects to the new, though the implementation is not complete across the website.
The obvious inference that can be drawn from these changes is that the range day will no longer be a media event. While it isn’t likely to exclude all media, I suspect the list of media attendees will be much shorter than years past to allow for many other people from the shooting industry to attend. I speculate that some manufacturers want the opportunity to have distributors and retailers to shoot new products.
If my guesses are accurate, and sweeping changes are underway, what will the altered focus of the range day mean for the new media? I suspect the changes will have a limiting effect of information distribution across the internet.
During the past few years, I have seen Media Day struggle with the influx of new people to the event. When the entirety of the gun media was limited to a few magazines and TV shows, the event was able to handle all press who wished to attend. However, the internet allows anyone to easily publish a news, review, or commentary site. Many of these sites are very professional and earn large readership numbers.
This unparalleled publishing power has diminished the importance of traditional media, and diversified the media field. Many of these writers and publishers have attended. As more writers attend, Media Day has become more visibly crowded. In 2013, the event tried to limit the number of attendees with morning and afternoon sessions. For those of us with morning credentials, we got a four-hour jump on the afternoon crowd. Many people were not happy with this arrangement.
I suspect that pressure from some manufacturers to allow non-media attendees with the need to reduce the number of overall visitors have created a situation which will allow the SHOT Show will make sweeping changes this year. My best guess is that many internet media attendees will not be invited back, creating a limited number of information distribution channels for gun enthusiasts.
The SHOT Show has been very accepting of new media, and have made a number of changes to accomodate our needs. But, they are facing the challenge of determining what qualifies someone as media. If someone puts up a website with a few dozen posts just to get into the show, do they qualify? If not, who does? It is not an enviable position to be in, and the new Industry Day at the Range may reflect the attempts of the NSSF to draw some lines. The new Industry Day at the Range may give us early insight into changes that will be see at the larger 2014 SHOT Show.
Update: According to an e-mail I just received, there will be an official announcement on the changes tomorrow, April 2, 2013. Stay tuned and we will bring you the latest information when we have it.