IBC cancels December show in Amsterdam

In the latest fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of IBC 2021 have decided they will not go ahead with their planned live event in Amsterdam early next month and will try to go digital instead.

The IBC Partnership Board announced the decision Tuesday in a brief statement, declaring that it was cancelling the in-person event following "growing concerns about the COVID-19 situation in The Netherlands which has deteriorated over the past week, and feedback from the IBC exhibitor and visitor community." The board said it acted today "in order to prevent exhibitors and visitors from travelling to The Netherlands."

Due to take place December 3-6 at The RAI in Amsterdam, the giant media-tech trade show is one of the biggest in the world. It typically takes place in Amsterdam in mid-September but was pushed back to early December this year in hopes that the pandemic would have subsided by then.

IBC thus becomes the latest media-tech trade show to succumb to the pandemic. In recent months, for example, NAB and SCTE cancelled their in-person shows in Las Vegas and Atlanta, respectively, pivoting to digital versions of their events instead.

The move comes shortly after broadcast and media trade body IBAM, one of IBC's six parent bodies, revealed survey results showing that 65.7% of respondents did not intend to attend the IBC2021 event. Only 18.9% said they planned to attend.

The last-minute pivot to digital also comes after a string of major vendors withdrew from exhibiting this year as COVID cases rise in the Netherlands again. The latest companies to withdraw include Commscope, SmarDTV, Norwia, Broadpeak, Viaccess Orca and Canon.

In addition, the Dutch government declared a three-week partial lockdown of the nation earlier this month.

The IBC Partnership said it will now focus on turning the event into a digital show. But the group offered no details about the planned virtual event.

Now the focus will shift to CES, which is the biggest global tech-media event of them all. That show is still scheduled to take place live in Las Vegas in early January, even as COVID-19 cases are surging again in the US.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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