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Attendance Appears to Slide at RSNA 2015

November 30, 2015
by Mark Hagland
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RSNA officials release advance registration numbers that reflect a downturn in attendance compared to last year

Attendance appears to have declined significantly at RSNA 2015, the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America, being held Nov. 30-Dec. 4 at the vast McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago, based on preliminary numbers released by the conference's sponsoring association. According to a statement put out on Monday by executives of the Oak Brook Ill.-based RSNA, “RSNA 2015 total advance registration of 47,060 and professional advance registration of 23,856 are in line with our expectations. Audited registration totals will be available in mid- to late December.”

If those figures are in line with RSNA officials’ expectations, then those expectations must have been for a downward slide, since the official audited 2014 attendance total was 56,026,with 28,807 professional attendees, a result that RSNA executives trumpeted in a Jan. 21, 2015 press release as “the highest professional attendance recorded for an RSNA annual meeting.”

Still, it should be noted that the two numbers—47,060 and 56,026—are not strictly comparable, since one represents this year’s advance registration, while the other represents last year’s audited final total. There are inevitably a certain number of last-minute attendees, though the last-minute arrivals usually number in the hundreds, not thousands.

What’s more, an RSNA spokesperson confirmed Monday morning that the association this year has discontinued the practice of publishing daily attendance figures online, as it had done the past few years; so it is impossible at present to fully accurately compare head counts. If that drop of 8,966 were to hold steady and approach the final 2015 total, however, it would represent a 16-percent decrease in attendance this year from last year’s total.

The number of exhibitors has also dropped this year, though very slightly, with 656 exhibitors, 94 of them first-time exhibitors, and occupying a total of 420,100 square feet, versus the 656 exhibitors last year, 111 of them first-time exhibitors, and occupying a total of 431,300 square feet of space.



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