NAB 2020 has been cancelled, and it is not before time for the many people who were thinking of cancelling their visits.
The NAB 2020 show organisers held on until the last, and it seemed as though the show would hold on by its finger nails until the very last moment.
Pressure had been gradually building to cancel the show with many attendees and publications pulling out from attending the event, which for the industry is considered the biggest on the calendar. But with big names like AJA, Adobe and Nikon amongst others, and the realisation that things were likely to get a lot worse, not better, the show’s organisers finally relented.
On the NAB Show website they wrote,
“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.“
With other shows having being cancelled, including the large E3 Show, NAB 2020 is not alone. Covid-19 is not going to be going away in a matter of weeks, or even a couple of months. It is likely to be with us as a high risk until at least next year unless a vaccine is developed and distributed within that time
Certainly it is highly unlikely that the crisis will resolve by September, which will also throw running of the IBC Show in Amsterdam into doubt.
Big trade shows might not be relevant anymore
This could be a watershed moment for such big trade shows, however. Manufacturers have long since thought of them as a drain on resources for not much gain. Most of the time big product announcements appear well before the shows begin, so there are rarely any big announcements when they are in progress.
Sometimes business is done face to face along with some networking, but considering the cost there are now much better ways of doing this. Companies such as RED and Apple pulled out of attending trade shows years ago for this very reason.
It is of course true that as large and very well known companies they can do this. They have the clout to organise their own conferences and promote them around the world. But when it comes to large trade shows, whilst the smaller companies can attend and sometimes get exposure, they are still most often lost amongst the big hitters where publicity is concerned. If the big shows were cancelled and only the small names remained, who would attend?
Luckily there are much smaller events in existence. Not necessarily trade shows in the same way that NAB is, but they still give manufacturers a chance to show off their gear to potential users. Cinegear is a good example of this, as is the smaller NAB NYC event.
With travel restrictions in place show organisers are going to have to think of creative and alternative ways to organise things. Whether that’s more online content, live streaming of keynotes, and even scheduled networking meetings online, there is going to have to be a big rethink. This is doubly important for the show holders because Covid-19 is going to be here for a while.