March 11, 2020

NAB Show cancelled in wake of coronavirus pandemic declaration

Organizers of this year’s NAB Show, which was set to take place in Las Vegas Apr. 18-22, say that after carefully monitoring coronavirus developments over the past few weeks, they have made the decision to cancel this year’s event.

The move comes following a World Health Organization (WHO) declaration Wednesday morning, officially classifying COVID-19 as a pandemic. The virus has now swept into at least 114 countries and resulted in more than 4,000 deaths.

“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,” said Gordon H. Smith, National Association of Broadcasters’ President and CEO, in a statement posted to the NAB Show website.

“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.”

NAB Show annually attracts thousands of international delegates from the broadcast, tech, digital and media sectors. In addition to an expansive series of exhibit halls, the event encompasses nine conferences and five different awards shows, including the Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards and New York Festivals Awards Gala.

Smith said NAB is still exploring possible alternatives that would still allow the industry to engage with the latest technology and hear from industry thought leaders.

NAB joins a growing list of events that have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. They include SXSW, Radiodays Europe, the Collision tech conference in Toronto, the Google I/O developer conference, and Shopify’s May developer and partner conference, Unite.

Primary networking event

Broadcast Dialogue publisher Shawn Smith, who had taken the helm of organizing the Great Canadian Suite at this year’s event – an annual gathering of Canadian attendees and vendors servicing the media industry – said the cancellation means the loss of vital networking opportunities.

“It’s a shame, but we saw it coming,” said Smith. “It’s a tough blow for our industry because it is the primary networking and face-to-face sales event on the planet.”