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It must have been a difficult decision: Industry reacts to NAB cancellation

TVBEurope hears from key industry figures about the decision to cancel NAB Show 2021

Following the news earlier this week that the 2021 NAB Show would no longer be taking place next month, TVBEurope asked key members of the industry to give us their reactions on the cancellation.

Avid president and CEO Jeff Rosica said it must have been an “incredibly difficult decision” but was the right one to take. “Avid supports NAB as well as other industry organisations but it’s certainly in the best interest of everyone to keep clear of large gatherings right now,” he told TVBEurope.

“For us at Avid, this means we are standing by our decision earlier this year to follow this course until we know we can be safe. The good news is that we’ve been able to adapt and remain fully engaged with our customer community throughout the pandemic. Trade shows will eventually return to our go-to-market mix, but not this year and not until we can be thoroughly confident that the situation is under control.”

Rob Malcolm, chief product officer at Imagine Communications expressed the company’s disappointment at the news, but added they appreciated the “tireless” work of the NAB team to try to make this year’s event happen.

“The pandemic has been an unprecedented event in all of our lifetimes,” added Malcolm. “That the disease continues to evolve, creating new challenges like the Delta variant, means that planning travel and associations at any distance into the future becomes difficult. For this reason, we hope IBC will make a decision sooner rather than later about whether the planned December event may suffer from a similar cascade of cancellations.

“Exhibitions remain vital to Imagine, as a way of meeting our customers and debating the best technological route forward for them. We sincerely hope that we will be able to meet in April 2022 for a very successful NAB Show.”

Other reactions include:

Jon Finegold, chief marketing officer at Signiant: “Of course, safety is the top priority and so we understand the decision but are certainly disappointed we won’t have the opportunity to connect with the industry in person as we have so many exciting things to share. We look forward to connecting with the market in other ways and look forward to getting back to in-person events when safe to do so.” 

Ciaran Doran, director of marketing, Rohde & Schwarz Broadcast and Media: “It is deeply disappointing that the US international travel embargo created a major barrier to our participation but demonstrates the real ongoing fear with Covid around the world. Broadcasters are rightly cautious – they have programming obligations and we respect customer’s decisions not to travel to Las Vegas. So we will bring the show to them over the coming months in the run up to April 2022 when, God willing, we can all meet again in person”

Mike Grieve, commercial director of Mo-Sys Engineering: “The cancellation of NAB 2021 is a disappointment, of course, but it is also the right choice. Our products – and indeed much of the industry – sell on a global basis, and if the continuing pandemic means it is difficult for the world to get together right now, then we will continue with the online marketing strategy we’ve been following for the last 21 months. We look forward to NAB 2022.”

Miguel Churruca, marketing and communications director Brainstorm Multimedia: “We were looking forward to re-engage in person with customers, partners and the market in general, as we have been doing for the past 25 years. However, the health situation is far from controlled, and if we add the current travel restrictions this effectively prevented most of our team from attending the show. We also believe the NAB took the necessary steps to ensure everybody’s safety, which we applaud and acknowledge, and we certainly hope to be back to normal by NAB 2022, which should represent the return of the shows as we know them.

“The broadcast business requires to take close looks at the products in person – one-to-one demos, face-to-face meetings, long discussions with customers and visually engaging presentations –, and while these can be done remotely, the personal contact certainly improves the experience. An international show is the perfect scenario to measure the pulse of the industry and the manufacturers, which, combined with attractive venues, is what traditionally brought visitors. In the meantime, we will use our own resources to continue engaging with the market, even if remotely, with another edition of the Brainstorm Virtual Week which will be announced soon.”

Dominic Harland, CEO, GB Labs: “We would like to thank NAB for making every effort to deliver a live show this year, and for making the difficult decision to cancel the event in order to put safety first. While we are disappointed not to have the opportunity to meet with our customers and partners at this year’s event, we look forward to reconnecting with our industry colleagues and friends in Las Vegas in April 2022.”

Alison Pavitt, director of sales and marketing at Pebble: “It was the right decision given the amount of companies both inside and outside of the US who had cancelled their presence at the show. We’ll miss the opportunity to reconnect in person with our peers and customers across the pond in Vegas, but Team Pebble is very much looking forward to NAB in April 2022. In the meantime we’ll be attending smaller, more regional events and carrying out customer visits where we can, and of course carrying on connecting digitally and in 2D! Could they have made the decision earlier? Perhaps. That said, we absolutely understand that it would have been a very difficult decision to make.”

James Robinson, Hitomi Broadcast director: “Our products are for the synchronisation of audio and video, and demonstrating the equipment to our customers is a crucial part of them understanding the benefits. Without NAB’s traditional broad, international reach it became unviable for us to attend, especially as the presence of a UK company comes with complex quarantine regulations which could tie up our key staff for an extended period. We commend NAB for managing expectations throughout, and for making the right decision now.”

Kurt Krinke, vice president broadcast sales North America, Arvato Systems:While NAB is an invaluable event for connecting our industry, we applaud everyone involved in making this difficult decision, putting caution and safety first. We will continue to produce events to connect with our clients and partners virtually for now.”

Hubert Oehm, CTO, “It’s disappointing that NAB has been cancelled. I have fond memories of the buzz around being there as a start up in the early days of both Vizrt and Singular. However, I’ve also been part of major organisations, like Vizrt, with a big stand in the middle of the hall. NAB is a centrepiece event for our industry and will continue to play a big role. It is a shame we won’t get to see everyone in Las Vegas this year, but we can look forward to 2022. The organisers’ priority had to be to keep everyone safe and there was no other course of action.

“The cancellation of NAB is a sobering reminder that the world has changed. As restrictions came into force to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, the transition was a little easier for as we have always been a virtual organisation. My hope is that during this break in activity, NAB considers developing a more flexible hybrid/virtual approach to events. Not only does such a programme make it easier to deal with changes in pandemic regulations, but it’s a far more sustainable approach. A lot of materials go into building the stands and preparing the halls at NAB, not to mention the power needed to keep the event running. For the sake of the future, every business, including NAB, has a responsibility to consider how they can conduct operations in much more sustainable ways”.

Sergio Grce, CEO of iSIZE Technologies: “We were looking forward to the opportunity to meet with customers face-to-face and share our latest innovations with them, and we are disappointed that this will not happen. However, we support NAB’s decision to put the safety of exhibitors and attendees above all else and now we look ahead, and look forward to a successful NAB 2022.”

 Daniel Lundstedt, regional sales manager, Intinor: “It was becoming increasingly clear that an NAB convention in the USA next month was not going to deliver the broad audience that we, and other vendors, have traditionally enjoyed. For Intinor as a Swedish company, travel to and from Las Vegas would have proved difficult, so the NAB decision has only pre-empted a difficult decision we were facing.”

Alexandra Maier, director global marketing and communications – Media Solutions, CGI: “Following the developments on the current travel restrictions carefully for the last few weeks, it became clear to CGI that the situation would prevent the majority of our employees outside of the US from travelling to the show, so we needed to switch to plan B even before NAB’s organisers decided to cancel the show. 

“We look forward to re-engaging with the community at NAB in 2022!”

Jennie Marwick-Evans, MD, Manor Marketing: “We absolutely back what must have been a difficult decision for NAB to make. They have been unfailingly supportive, considerate and professional throughout the past six months and as a company, we genuinely look forward to getting back to Vegas in April 2022 to what will no doubt be a show to remember!”

Martin Izzard, head of media and entertainment, Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry: “It goes without saying that we love going to NAB to explore the show floor and see the latest innovations in broadcast and media production. But now without the show, it’s important that would-be exhibitors think a bit differently about how they market and sell their technologies.

What we miss out on when we don’t have the shows in person are exhibitors working in partnership with one another, presenting joint initiatives or projects that we usually see on the show floor. This is such a hugely important part of the trade show experience so I’d hope we see any vendors working in partnership with one another promoting them as much as they can. What we don’t want is to end up with a lot of siloed show-replacement activities where everyone’s competing for a share of the virtual voice instead of working together.”

Sadie Groom, CEO, Bubble Agency: “Whilst we are disappointed to not see clients, press, colleagues and industry friends at NAB in October, we feel it is the right decision for NAB to have made. The past 18 months have enabled everyone to adapt to the H-word (hybrid events) and it is clear these will continue to play a part for all events, even as the ‘normal’ calendar year of trade shows commences in 2022. For now, we have our fingers crossed for IBC in December.”