This year the New Zealand National Fieldays Society built an online event following the cancellation of the physical Fieldays.

As the country went into lockdown, the society went about effectively transforming the largest agricultural show in the Southern Hemisphere into a completely virtual experience.

The Fieldays Online concept and digital platform was created in just under 108 days.

The success of the event, which was held from July 13 - 26, was measured in several ways, from visitor numbers to global reach.

Advertisement

Total digital visitors hit 90,455, with attendees from over 75 countries accessing nearly 300 exhibitors and over 24 hours of Fieldays TV content.

Digital adoption in higher age groups exceeded expectations with 40 per cent of registered users in the 50+ age group.

"The analytics show great viewership and engagement with the explosion of international visitors and, locally, a much higher regional spread beyond the traditional Fieldays," New Zealand National Fieldays Society chief executive Peter Nation said.

"The success of this years' event was a testament to the strong collaboration with our exhibitors and our relationships with industry leaders that got behind it despite not having a benchmark."

The timing of the event was positioned to allow time for exhibitors to return to business post lockdown and leverage the event to the fullest.

Despite the event happening during the beginning of calving, registered users in the dairy industry ranked third in industry type.

Fieldays Online was created in partnership with Satellite Media, a digital innovation, activation, event and content creation agency based in Auckland.

"To build this platform in just over three months is astronomical, an event of this size and scope usually takes over a year with a large dedicated team. We're grateful for our partnership with Satellite, their team went over and above to help us deliver Fieldays Online and it really paid off," said Nation.

Advertisement

The multifaceted platform included content from Fieldays TV, Fieldays Innovation Awards, the Health and Wellbeing Hub and a large exhibitor network.

Fieldays Online was opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and an address from Prince Charles.

Fieldays TV was filmed live in studio and available on-demand throughout the event. The top performing elements included Fieldays Future Focus talks, a series of topical discussions with industry leaders and Fieldays Kitchen which featured seven Kiwi chefs including Simon Gault, Michael Van de Elzen, Nici Wickes, Brett McGregor, Belinda MacDonald and sisters Karena and Kasey Bird.

The Fieldays Innovation Awards was streamed live and saw the highest number of live views.

Exhibitors who paid for a site for the physical event were offered the choice of an 80 per cent refund or to leave their site fees with the society for the 2021 event. Only 27 per cent opted for a refund. Of the online exhibitors, 4 per cent were new Fieldays exhibitors.

Nation acknowledged that the online and physical Fieldays were two different types of events built to achieve different goals and speak to different audiences.

Advertisement

"This provides great opportunity for 2021 when we bring the two together to make the absolute best of both. Fieldays Online is an extension of what we can offer in the future and it's about keeping Fieldays alive. The digital event will provide longevity to the physical event as well as maximising coverage for exhibitors and visitors, supporting jobs and boosting the economy."