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The NAB Show Is Off for April

(Image credit: Future)

WASHINGTON—The National Association of Broadcasters will not hold the NAB Show in April due to public health concerns about coronavirus.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith made the announcement. See the full text at bottom of this article.

“We are currently considering a number of potential alternatives to create the best possible experience for our community,” Smith said.

The show markets itself the world’s “largest and most comprehensive convention encompassing the convergence of media, entertainment and technology.” It drew approximately 91,400 people to Las Vegas in 2019, and featured some 1,600+ exhibitors.

International attendance is an important part of the event; last year about 26% of people came from abroad. Of those, about 30% were from Asia.

As of Wednesday afternoon the show’s website proclaimed “The show is on” and continued its message that organizers were “moving forward responsibly” while taking direction from the WHO and CDC. But the World Health Organization on Wednesday declared coronavirus a pandemic, and the NAB announcement followed quickly. The number of U.S. cases surpassed 1,000 this week, according to a dashboard published by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. 

“This was not an easy decision. Fortunately, we did not have to make this decision alone, and are grateful to our NAB Show community for engaging with us as we grappled with the rapidly-evolving situation,” Smith said.

Recent days had seen an increasing number of exhibitor cancellations including familiar video names like Ross Video, Avid and Adobe, and some separate conferences that had timed their events to the big show pulled out, such as PBS TechCon, as other event organizers watched and worried.

Beyond broadcasting, a number of major events in cities around the United States have been cancelled or postponed. In many cases their planners say they intend to conduct virtual events or to offer other platforms for dissemination of show content and product information.

Here is the NAB statement:

Dear NAB Show community,

As you know, we have been carefully monitoring coronavirus developments both domestically and globally over the past few weeks.

In the interest of addressing the health and safety concerns of our stakeholders and in consultation with partners throughout the media and entertainment industry, we have decided not to move forward with NAB Show in April. We are currently considering a number of potential alternatives to create the best possible experience for our community.

This was not an easy decision. Fortunately, we did not have to make this decision alone, and are grateful to our NAB Show community for engaging with us as we grappled with the rapidly-evolving situation. This Show is as much yours as it is ours, and it is important to us that we move forward together.

For nearly 100 years, NAB Show has provided superior value and the best possible experience for exhibitors and attendees. We knew that if we could not deliver on those expectations, we would not move forward. More importantly, keeping the community safe and healthy is NAB’s highest priority; therefore, we are deferring to the developing consensus from public health authorities on the challenges posed by coronavirus.

We are still weighing the best potential path forward, and we ask you for your patience as we do so. We are committed to exploring all possible alternatives so that we can provide a productive setting where the industry can engage with the latest technology, hear from industry thought leaders and make the game-changing connections that drive our industry forward.

I want to stress that despite our disappointment at how this year’s Show has been impacted by global public health concerns, we are more excited than ever about the future of NAB Show and our relationship with you.

We are grateful for each and every member of our Show community. It is your passion for the industry that makes NAB Show a success year after year, and it is that same passion that will drive us into the future as we look ahead to new possibilities later this year and beyond.