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NAB date change: The industry reacts

Take part in TVBEurope's survey asking for your opinions on the change of date and its impact on the industry

The news that the media technology industry’s two main trade shows will take place within a month of each other in 2021 has prompted plenty of reaction from vendors.

Last night, NAB announced next year’s show will take place from October 9th-13th, with IBC having previously confirmed its 2021 dates for 10th-14th September.

What does that mean for vendors? Will they be willing to attend and show new products at both shows?

TVBEurope would like to hear your opinions in our survey below.

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Meanwhile, here are some reactions from those who would traditionally attend both shows.

Stuart Russell, senior communications manager, Ross Video: “I can certainly understand why NAB decided to push the show dates back for next year (increases the odds of the event actually happening!) and make an early announcement on this. Clarity now helps everyone with planning, and that’s very welcome. The obvious issue is the close proximity to IBC. I can only assume that 2021’s NAB Show will be focusing on the domestic and ‘short haul’ audience, with IBC catering for the European crowd. My biggest concern is how we can manage the logistics of two events so close together. I’m assuming both events will be hybrid in nature, with a mixture of physical event + online activity, but companies with a global footprint (like Ross) will have some important decisions to make about the movement of equipment and people. My gut feeling is that many brands will choose to skip next October’s NAB show and return again in April (if the event reverts to its traditional dates in 2022). Either way, we certainly welcome the early notice and the additional planning time it provides.”

Martin Coles, VP of marketing at IPV: “It’s understandable that NAB has made this difficult decision given the available information. Certainly this shift begs the question, how will IBC and other shows fit into this change, and what will it mean for product development? We’ve been amazed at the innovations that have come out of this crisis, and while previously companies tended to revolve announcements around these tentpole shows, the industry is now innovating and adapting to new technologies not because we can but because we must.”

Daniella Weigner, MD, Cinegy GmbH: “One can understand NAB taking this decision now, which gives a lot of notice to its exhibitors and partners. It’s also probably the right decision for NAB, considering that the feasibility to travel and conduct large exhibitions is, at this moment, still very uncertain even into next year. It’s also probably the right time frame for NAB. It does however pose a quandary for exhibitors who usually do both NAB and IBC, to cover the two massive geographies. Logistically, many exhibitors from outside of the US sea freight their booths, and possibly don’t have two on hand…as IBC is a month early, the booth kit might not be available. Another aspect is staffing around this time. Having what are considered two major trade shows in Q4 2021 will pose some decision making. Which one? For North Americans, the choice is clear, NAB will be the winner. For the others, I believe IBC will be the choice. The end effect will be that NAB will become even more of an American trade show, with a smaller footprint that will lose the small to midsize companies.”

Rob Malcolm, CMO, Imagine Communications: “The continuing pandemic means these are challenging times and making decisions even a year out is hard. We sympathise with the organisers of both NAB and IBC. We know they are prioritising safety, just as we at Imagine have to consider our people and our customers. But we have to be clear that holding IBC and NAB within a month of each other puts a huge strain on our business and indeed on the wider industry. Key executives and teams would be away from driving the business forward for two weeks or more in a month, which is more time than most companies can afford. We have yet to formalise our plans. We may well look to treat NAB as a local US show; IBC as the European event, with very little crossover in terms of staff. However we will continue to support other regional events, including NAB New York, to meet the expectations of our customers.”

Alison Pavitt, marketing manager at Pebble Beach Systems: “The proactive move from NAB is to be applauded. Vendors will benefit from this early decision as work on budgets and plans for next year’s shows begins this far out. Clearly the show now comes hard on the heels of IBC, which brings its own logistical challenges, and this new timing is likely to massively reduce the non-US attendance to the show next year.”

Dominic Harland, CEO/CTO, GB Labs: “This is a tricky situation for us because we traditionally support and exhibit at both IBC and NAB. We have an American office, based in LA, and for them, NAB is important. We are fortunate in that we have staff, kit and stands in both locations, but with regard to the marketing and support, especially follow-up on the leads generated, this is bound to cause some issues. At the moment, we are evaluating the situation and will continue to do so.”

Bob Charlton, Scribe PR: “I’m reminded of IBC’s strapline they have used for a number of years – IBC – run by the industry, for the industry. When I apply this to the news that broke overnight, I can’t see how NAB’s decision to reschedule its main event in October can help anybody in our industry. I would urge NAB to reconsider its decision, and I would also urge NAB and IBC to work together to ensure that the best interests of exhibitors and attendees are fully factored into their decision making process.”

Sergio Grce, CEO, iSIZE: “We are so pleased that NAB is going ahead in 2021 and that the community is making sure that the latest COVID guidance is followed for the safety of all participants, however, IBC is also important to us and our customers and therefore, we will be exhibiting and supporting both shows and regions.”

Adam Leah, creative director, nxtedition: “As a European company, we see IBC as the major opportunity for us to reach our customers and work collaboratively with our partners. Therefore, we will still support IBC. However, for those who traditionally support both NAB and IBC, I think this is going to make them pick which one they’re going to support. This could be when the Americas attend NAB, and the international community attend IBC.”

Ed Abis, general manager, : “It’s disappointing to see that NAB have made the decision to move the event so close to IBC in 2021. Generally, both shows are ideally situated within the calendar and majorly influence announcements, sales pipeline and product development. Organisations will have to choose one or the other, or, spread resources – including sales and marketing budget, and staff time – and go to both, potentially diluting the trade show experience, resulting in low-key events. This would be a shame for the event organisers and for the end-users, who eagerly await product showcases and high-profile industry presentations. Essentially, the big brands pull in the crowds, so if they don’t exhibit at either show, then it will have an adverse effect on the smaller companies that rely so heavily on trade shows.”

Richard McClurg, VP Marketing, Dejero: “First and foremost, the health and safety of our staff, customers, partners, event service providers, and all attendees is our top concern when considering our participation. One major show for an industry this size makes sense. Two does not. Especially a month apart. It creates a logistical nightmare for exhibitors. Perhaps what’s best for the industry as a whole is to alternate years between Las Vegas, Amsterdam, and perhaps other locations? And to take a hybrid approach of both physical and virtual elements. It’s impossible to predict the state of the pandemic a year out, and the willingness of attendees to participate in person, so like many media technology providers, we’ll be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach.”

Gay Bell, CEO, Platform Communications: “One thing the pandemic has shown the media and entertainment tech industry is that effective market positioning and lead generation should go beyond physical trade shows. That said, the power of face to face networking must not be underestimated – this is a very sociable industry, where people buy from people. The future of customer engagement has to be hybrid, bringing together both live and virtual events. I think the smart players will see the timing of IBC in September and NAB Show in October as an opportunity to build one holistic campaign that addresses diverse audiences. Depending on your regional market focus you will want to connect with the international IBC community, the predominantly North American NAB Show attendees and also address all of those people who don’t go to Amsterdam or Las Vegas through effective content marketing and online events. It’s an opportunity to be much more strategic and targeted and build year-round relationships with customers and prospects.”

Daniel Lundstedt, regional sales manager (Nordics & US), Intinor: “I’m of course sad to hear NAB won’t happen in April next year but at the same time, I really respect the hard decision that the organisation had to take.”

Mike Grieve, commercial director, Mo-Sys: “To the average exhibitor, I can’t see having two major tradeshows within a month of each other in 2021 being a feasible option. Many may choose to focus their resources on one out of the two and I would have thought that the one closest to their base continent and where the majority of their clients are will seem more attractive. Is it possible we will start to see a split widening between an American NAB and European IBC? At least NAB has made this decision with plenty of notice.”

Russell Johnson, director, Hitomi: “What makes NAB so valuable is the quality and diversity of attendees. If by postponing the event to October 2021, it means that more people will be able to return to this prime event then that seems like the right thing to do. We have learned to appreciate the value of face to face meetings all the more during these times of social distancing and look forward to being able to physically attend a tradeshow again when possible.”