The Broadcast Equipment Exhibition, the original name of Inter BEE, was first held in 1965 by the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan (NAB-J) as a joint exhibition with the 2nd Technical Report Conference on Commercial Broadcasting at the Invention Hall in Toranomon, Tokyo, with some 12 companies exhibiting products. The second exhibition was held in 1966 under the joint sponsorship of NAB-J and the Electronic Industry Association (currently known as the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association/JEITA). From the third exhibition in 1967, the venue was moved to the Science Museum located in Kitanomaru Park, Tokyo, which had just opened at the time. The fourth exhibition in 1968 was held under the main sponsorship of the Electronic Industry Association with the NAB-J as a supporting organization.
And from the tenth exhibition in 1974, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) also became a cooperating organization. Established specifically for the benefit of broadcast equipment users, the exhibition garnered much attention within the industry to earn it a prominent position among domestic exhibitions.
The eleventh exhibition in 1975 attracted a remarkable amount of attention when an experimental display called, “Broadcast-TV Multiplex Broadcasts ? The Wave of the Future”, was created as a special exhibit. The number of visitors and exhibitors increased significantly from the thirteenth exhibition in 1977 and by the fourteenth exhibition in 1978, the number of overseas exhibits grew to coincide with the rising amount of international visitors.
The venue for the eighteenth exhibition in 1982 was moved to the TRC (Tokyo Ryutsu Center) in Heiwajima, Tokyo, which offered 2.5 times more exhibition space than the Science Museum. Taking advantage of this move, the exhibition name was changed to “The International Broadcast Equipment Exhibition (Inter BEE)”, to reflect the growing number of participants from overseas.
Sections within the exhibition become more specialized and were clearly grouped into different categories such as Professional Audio, Broadcast Equipment-Materials, and Camera/VTR/Studio Equipment. This helped provide participants with unfettered access to an expanding range of fields to better answer the needs of broadcast stations, software producers, CATV, and public organizations, as well as companies seeking to purchase new broadcast equipment.
In 1985, the twenty-first exhibition was relocated to the Convention Center?Tokyo at Ikebukuro Sunshine City, which expanded exhibition space to 13,000 square meters. Moreover, the exhibition was now recognized both in Japan and overseas as a truly international event that included exhibitors from over 250 companies. This period also marked the beginning of a series of new services such as the publication a broadcast equipment catalog, the holding of international symposiums, and a system for full visitor registration.
The exhibition venue was relocated in 1990 to its current site at Makuhari Messe with an initial exhibition space of 20,000 square meters. Since then, a new exhibition hall has been added about once every five years to expand exhibition space to its current size of 47,000 square meters. More than 30,000 visitors attended the thirty-fourth exhibition in 1998, with the event now ranking alongside the NAB in the USA and the IBC in Europe as one of the top exhibitions in the broadcast equipment field.
Beginning in the year 2000, the process of digitalization of broadcasting, starting with broadcasting satellites, brought about great changes in the broadcasting industry. Numerous proposals for digital equipment began to surface, producing an immense effect on the creation of peripheral industries and new business opportunities as well as the broadcasting industry itself.
For the forty-third exhibition in 2007, the name of the event was published as “Inter BEE” in a move meant to attract media outside of broadcasting. “Inter BEE online” was set up to reach a broader audience via the website, and exhibit information and news was presented in news articles and in video format.
In 2008, for the forty-fourth exhibition, a professional lighting division was added. This expansion provided an opportunity for imaging and lighting collaboration, and broadened the possibilities for exhibition. More than 35,000 visitors attended the exhibition, which garnered interest from the broadcasting industry and many other types of media. The following year, In 2009, exhibitors for the first time exceeded 800 companies.
In its forty-sixth year, the exhibition began to feature a different country or region each time, beginning with Korea in 2010, setting the stage for greater participation by the Asian market by encouraging local users to attend and local companies to participate in the exhibition pavilions.
In 2011, with the transition to terrestrial digital broadcasting complete (except in the three prefectures in north-eastern Japan), a new cross media division was established to consolidate proposals for new media using no longer used bandwidth and businesses other than digital content broadcasting. The organization moved forward with the new goal of becoming a comprehensive media exhibition incorporating IPTV, Mobile TV, digital signage, digital cinema, 3D and digital content.
A showcase for the world’s most advanced technologies, Inter BEE continues to respond to the needs of professionals in the field. By incorporating both Japanese and international markets, the exhibition has become a steady channel of industry information to its target audience. For exhibitors and visitors alike, Inter BEE continues to be a forum for effective exchange of meaningful information and the creation of business opportunities.