Siggraph attendance beats forecast

The venerable conference continues to delight and excite.

(Source: JPR)

We’ve been tracking Siggraph’s attendance since the conference started and attending almost that long as well.

Siggraph went through an explosive period, climaxing 22 years ago in 1997 ago just before the internet bubble popped. Since then, the attendance has dropped hitting an all-time low in 2009 during the great recession.

History of attendance of Siggraph since its inception.

One of the influences on attendance at Siggraph is that it moves from city to city. Conferences that are fixed in one location generally have improved attendance. Moving from city to city can be a hardship on some exhibitors and attendees, especially students. However, for the past ten years, Siggraph has averaged visitor from 79 countries, and that’s exactly how many came to LA this year.

Attendance is, of course, how marketing departments and PR agencies judge a conference and decide if there is sufficient ROI to warrant the expense of setting up a booth and bringing in a team of people to support it, instead of staying at home and working.

But Siggraph is more than just exhibits, it is the collection and dissemination of the world’s leading research papers and presentations on state-of-the-art computer graphics technologies. And it is the biggest networking conference for technoids anywhere.

(Source: Siggraph)

And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s also where you can see the latest films and then discuss with the animators, engineers, and producers how they did it.

What’s more, typically an attendee at Siggraph will then go home and either do a write up on the conference for his or her peers who couldn’t attend or show videos and give a presentation. As a result, the virtual attendance at Siggraph is probably 10 times larger than the actual physical participation.