ESTA, the principal trade association for the entertainment services and technology industries in North America, and PLASA, the lead body for those working in the live events, entertainment and communication industries worldwide have voted to merge their two organizations.
The announcement comes on the back of lengthy consultations with both sets of memberships which concluded recently in a formal vote of Members - ESTA via a month-long electronic ballot which ran throughout May and PLASA via its annual AGM, which took place on Wednesday 2 June in London. Well over 93% 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 merger is a significant development for the industry, as it will effectively create the first truly international industry-wide membership body of over 1200 manufacturers, installers, dealers, rental companies, service providers and consultants working across the entertainment and installation industries. This will also include members of PERA - the former Production Equipment Rental Association - which recently merged with ESTA.
In reality, the merger is a continuation of an already established relationship between the two organizations who have worked together on a range of initiatives for many years and who share the same values and aims. Uniting under the PLASA name will lead to a stronger voice for the organization and allow it to actively develop its range of business services and industry initiatives.
Both teams will now spend the next six months putting in place the infrastructure behind the merger, the first formal stage of which will be completed by December 2010, allowing the new organization 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, which will work closely with Regional Boards in North America and Europe.
The Boards of both ESTA and PLASA, who actively recommended the merger to their respective memberships, are delighted with the positive vote, as they believe combining PLASA with ESTA will create a highly effective and responsive trade body.
In a joint statement, PLASA CEO Matthew Griffiths and ESTA Executive Director Lori Rubinstein said: “We believe the logic driving the merger is totally sound: the strengths of both organizations 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