At the beginning of 2022, a big question mark loomed over the television industry—just as it did the entire nation.
Would people get real, that is resume more normal activities, including actually attending trade shows and other industry gatherings, rather than relying on video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and others to attend from their homes and offices? Or, would health concerns dominate their thoughts and continue to fuel the virtual approach to life?
For the electronics industry at large, the first clue that a degree of normalcy was returning appeared in January with CES 2022 when more than 45,000 people traveled to Las Vegas to attend the show in person. Granted, the figure is only a little more than a quarter of the 171,000 who attended in 2020, but it was a start and a harbinger of what would unfold at industry gatherings throughout the year.
The broadcast industry’s turn came three months later in Las Vegas with resumption of an in-person NAB Show. NAB published 52,468 as its preliminary registered attendance at the show. More than 900 companies had booth space. Those figures compare to 91,500 attendees and more than 1,600 exhibitors at the 2019 show.
In October, NAB Show New York drew 9,576 in-person attendees and 245 exhibitors to New York City, compared to about 13,000 people and about 300 exhibitors in 2019.
Many other in-person industry gatherings resumed as well. Among them were IBC 2022 (37,071 vs. 56,390 in 2019); the annual Advanced Television Systems Committee Meeting and NextGen Broadcast Conference (more than 200 in Detroit vs. about the same in Washington D.C. pre-pandemic); the Audio Engineering Society Convention (nearly 7,000 vs. 9,500 in 2019); and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Media Summit.
Of course, there were a lot of other industry gatherings and conferences. Many offered streaming coverage as well as in-person attendance options, and some continued to be strictly virtual. But the direction is clear. The time has come to get real.
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Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.
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