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NAB 2020 postponed, alternatives being reviewed

The National Association for Broadcasters announced Wednesday that NAB 2020, set for April 18-22 in Las Vegas, has been postponed and that the organization is reviewing options for an alternative later this year.

NAB's announcement was made soon after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic. According to the latest figures, COVID-19 has infected more than 115,800 people and killed more than 4,200 worldwide, with more than 1,000 known infections in the US so far.

Prior to the decision to postpone and seek out an alternative later in the year, the NAB was hopeful the show could go on as it continued to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and take direction from global, federal and local health officials. The organization was also working with The Las Vegas Convention Center on "enhanced protocols" for the show, including more frequent wiping and disinfecting of "touch points" such as door handles, elevator buttons, sinks and handrails, the deployment of additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility and an increase in the outside air intake/air change rates during occupied show hours.

"This was not an easy decision" to postpone the show, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith, said in a letter issued Wednesday.

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

He said the NAB is "still weighing the best potential path forward, and we ask you for your patience as we do so." He said the organization is "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."

NAB, which drew 92,912 attendees, including 24,096 international attendees, to the 2019 confab, is among a growing number of major events to postpone or cancel, including Mobile World Congress Barcelona.

Recent postponements include ACA Connects Summit (originally set for March 17-19 in Washington, D.C.), as well as Light Reading's own Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies (March 16-18 in Denver). Google, meanwhile, has canceled the physical Google I/O developer conference that was set for May 12-14 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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