Mash Media: A History

It all began with a Fiat 127 over 25 years ago…

Mike Agostini was an exhibition organiser in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, who had always been vocal about the need for an industry magazine to help share ideas and experiences.

In the early 90s, he decided to work from home and wrote a couple of pilot issues of a magazine which he called Marketplace.  His youngest son Julian Agostini, who had been a post boy for Montgomery’s in Manchester Square, joined him to try and make the project work.

Some key stakeholders in exhibitions told Mike that there was no exhibition industry and were, therefore not supportive of the project. But Mike and Julian continued to build the community via a series of forums and roundtables that they called the Supper Club.

The father and son partnership then launched a directory of services for organisers in late 1994 but Mike died of cancer suddenly in February 1995 leaving Julian with his brother’s bedroom for an office, a little directory and the germ of an idea … and so what is now Mash Media was born, under its original moniker The Exhibitor Club.

The first job was to build up the directory which generated sufficient funds to be able to launch the first ever exhibition industry magazine, Exhibition News…now just EN of course.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing,” says Agostini. “I wrote the magazine under the pseudonym of Roberto Zio (Italian for Bob’s uncle), designed and laid it out on mum’s kitchen table, sold a few adverts and took it round to the printers.  When I got it back I stuffed it in envelopes, hand wrote around 1500 names and addresses and dropped it round to major UK organisers in an old blue Fiat 127”.

The operation has grown to become a little more slicker than that these days, employing over 60 people and providing nearly 30 different products and services across digital, print, and live event mediums, and reaching over 100,000 MICE industry professionals every year.

We also have a portfolio with some of the biggest names in the events industry, from EN, to International Confex, Conference News, to Access All Areas. The business retains the ability to create and nurture great products.

There is a simple philosophy at Mash which has been behind this progress.  “If the industry grows then we grow” says Julian.  So every product launched or acquired by Mash has to meet that particular criterion before it receives investment.

It must help grow the industry.

That’s the heartbeat of Mash Media and although the old Fiat 127 has long since been retired, the spirit and passion that fuelled it continues as does the Mash story.