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Market report: PA Systems

cost were no barrier. This year, DiGiCo, Midas and Yamaha digital desks all received multiple namechecks, while several respondents expressed the desire for large-format and/or wireless speakers. Less obviously, there were allusions to mobile staging equipment and DJ gear, while one correspondent expressed a frank desire for “anything that we can make money out of!” The steady creep of full

networking, and the continued migration to digital, are the most obvious symptoms of a


Loudspeakers/amplifiers Consoles

Networking technology/controllers Cabling/infrastructure Outboard processing/FX Microphones

19% 11%


classified themselves as being ‘to some extent’ up-to-date with new developments, while just 5% admitted that they were trailing behind the technological curve.

A CUT-THROAT BUSINESS? A series of high-level mergers and acquisitions have characterised the PA/rental sector over the last few years, while several small players have disappeared altogether. It seemed logical, then, to complete the survey with a couple of

3% 8% 32% 51% 49%


Expansion Upgrading

2013 43% 57% 2012


43% 2014


Increase Decrease

Stay the same JUNE 2012-JUNE 2013 40% 12% 36% 64% JUNE 2013-JUNE 2014 14% 13% 73% 48%

JUNE 2011-JUNE 2012


Audinate Dante Harman HiQnet CobraNet Aviom A-Net QSC Q-Sys Other


38% 5%5% 11%

“[In the rental world] there are a lot of people out there who will do something for nothing”

and “keeping prices reasonable and services/work quality high” were among the typical responses in this regard. In a potentially cheering

live industry that has witnessed profound change since the days of the early noughties, when analogue reigned supreme. But with AVB, AES67 and other acronyms crowding for end-user attention, to what extent do rental companies truly regard themselves to be up-to-date with new technological developments? The results were heartening, with 54% of respondents stating that they are ‘very much’ keeping pace with equipment- related evolution. Some 41%

questions about the present competitiveness of a sector that always seems to be on the move. It was not particularly surprising to discover that the vast majority (over 70%) of respondents described the market as either very or extremely competitive. Tellingly, however, their analysis of this situation varied considerably. A couple of contributors bemoaned the atmosphere that this has bestowed to the industry. “It’s very cut-throat at the moment,” said one

respondent, while another lamented the fact that “there are a lot of people out there who will do something for nothing.” Another added, succinctly, that “everyone is looking for that extra edge”. A focus on maintaining quality

and reasonable economies of scale was commonly encountered across responses to a final enquiry about the steps companies are taking to ensure they maintain a competitive edge. “Ensuring equipment is in stock and giving sharp quotations,”

development for the ad staff of PSNLive/PSNEurope, there were also multiple references to boosting awareness through advertising and a general increment in marketing activities. Several respondents also alluded to an expansion of their online presences, both through their own sites and optimisation of assorted social media platforms. Above all, however, there

was an overriding emphasis on consistency as the best way to maintain market share, with one contributor observing (with a possible nod to Simon and Garfunkel) that their strategy was “to do the jobs well and keep the customer satisfied”.

SUMMARY As last year’s report indicated, the difficult days of the 2009–11 period have now been firmly double-flushed down the chemical toilet of history. The number of tours and events is buoyant, and to date there have been relatively few notices of festival cancellations so far this year (Oxegen in Ireland being a rare exception). But one hangover from

that more troubled period is a prevailing concern about minimising overheads out on the road. Coupled with expectations that companies should be quick to offer the latest and greatest solutions, and it is clear that the bar has been raised high for PA/ rental companies across Europe. In a nutshell, it’s a sector that,

perhaps more than ever these days, has absolutely no room for complacency. PSNLIVE 2014

PSNLIVE 2014 l 17

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