The U.S. National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced it has made the decision not to move forward with its 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas as planned due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation. Facing an already crowded calendar at the Las Vegas Convention Center which has been exacerbated by multiple event postponements, the NAB is exploring options for transforming its April event into short- and long-term digital offerings, starting with NAB Show Express this April, that will allow attendees to convene online. The industry group will also focus on enhancing the NAB Show New York scheduled for 21-22 October.
In a statement, the NAB’s President and CEO, Gordon H. Smith, said “The COVID-19 pandemic has created a truly unprecedented situation around the world. Our thoughts are with those who have been directly affected by the virus, and all of those who are struggling with the ramifications of this global health crisis.
“At the National Association of Broadcasters, we believe it is our responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and put the health and safety of our show community first. In the week since announcing that we will not move forward with the NAB Show in April, the landscape has continued to shift dramatically with major sports leagues, school districts, and other businesses around the country suspending operations. The governor of Nevada has also made the decision to close all nonessential business operations in the state. National authorities are imploring Americans to telework wherever possible.
“While we recognise that much of our show community is focused on other issues at the moment, we have heard from many of you over the last week who are eager for an update on our plans. For that reason, we wanted to convey now that, in light of the current circumstances, it is impossible to hold a rescheduled 2020 NAB Show this year. We will instead proceed with a two-pronged approach to deliver as much value as possible under these circumstances to our exhibitors, partners, and the broadcast industry as a whole.
“First, we are exploring a number of ways to bring the industry together online, both in the short and long term. We know from many years of serving the community with face-to-face events, that connectivity is vital to the health and success of the industry. That’s why we are excited to announce NAB Show Express, targeted to launch in April 2020. This digital experience will provide a conduit for our exhibitors to share product information, announcements and demos, as well as deliver educational content from the original selection of programming slated for the live show in Las Vegas, and create opportunities for the community to interact virtually—all of which adds up to something that brings the NAB Show community together in a new way.
“Second, we will be enhancing NAB Show New York with new programs, partners, and experiences. We have already had numerous conversations with show partners about expanding their participation, and have heard from numerous exhibitors interested in enhancing their presence at this fall’s show. NAB Show New York represents the best opportunity for companies to announce and showcase their latest innovations and comes at a perfect time for the industry to gather face-to-face to restart, refocus, and reengage as we move forward together.
We will have more to say about these efforts in the coming weeks. This is a unique and challenging situation, but we are committed to working hard to deliver as much value as possible.
“We’re also committed to being an active part of the solution to the current crisis in the months ahead. Last week we launched a new public service announcement campaign on radio and television that will provide crucial information to keep communities safe. The PSAs are part of a comprehensive Coronavirus Response Toolkit that we have made available online to help broadcasters accurately cover the pandemic and prepare for the threat it poses to their staff, communities, and businesses. We’ll be doing more in the weeks to come to harness the power of our industry as a force for good in these difficult times.
“As we move forward, we will keep an open line of communication with our show community, and look forward to engaging with you throughout the year. We’ve already begun planning for our 2021 NAB Show in Las Vegas, which will take place April 11-14th, and we hope you’ll join us then, as well as this fall.
“We look forward to connecting with you, and hope that you and your loved ones remain safe in the months to come.”