The UK and North American entertainment/technology trade associations have voted to merge their two organisations. The announcement on June 3 follows lengthy consultations with both sets of memberships, which culminated recently in formal membership votes: PLASA's was conducted via its AGM, while ESTA undertook a month-long e-ballot.
More than 90% of members from each Association voted in support of the move, which will see ESTA and PLASA integrated to create a single international trade association operating under the PLASA name.
The overall result, say the organisations, will be "the first truly international industry-wide membership body", comprising more than 1,200 manufacturers, installers, dealers, service providers and consultants working across the entertainment and installation industries. The combined operation will also include members of PERA, the former Production Equipment Rental Association, which recently merged with ESTA.
Both teams - who have long collaborated on industry initiatives and campaigns - will now spend six months working on the infrastructure to support the merger, the first formal stage of which will be completed by December 2010, allowing the new organisation to go live on 1 January 2011. As part of this, an overarching Governing Body will be established to look after the interests of the membership worldwide and to work closely with Regional Boards for North America and Europe.
In a joint statement, PLASA CEO Matthew Griffiths and ESTA executive director Lori Rubinstein (pictured) commented: "We believe the logic driving the merger is totally sound: the strengths of both organisations are evident and we have an unequalled opportunity to increase the value we provide to Members through services, networking and improved business opportunities. A united approach to the issues and challenges of our industry will provide major long-term benefits and greatly broaden the role of the PLASA."
Image credit: Chris Toulmin