IBC 2020 Show Falls Victim To COVID-19

In a move that was not unexpected due to current pandemic conditions around the world, the annual IBC 2020 show in Amsterdam, set to take place on September 11-14, has been cancelled. In recent weeks two major exhibitors - Panasonic and Ross Video - had already cancelled their participation citing the safety of its employees. The annual conference typically hosts an average of 55,000 visitors from across the globe.

The IBC, the group that runs the annual conference, said it had been monitoring the situation carefully and has come to the tough decision that the show must not go on.

“The IBC team has been focused on assessing and developing appropriate plans for IBC2020 this September at the RAI Amsterdam,” Michael Crimp, IBC CEO said, in a statement. “Within these plans it is crucial that IBC can deliver a safe and successful environment. However, as governments announce the route forward, it has become clear that a return to (a new) normal is unlikely to be achieved by September.”

In deference to the safety of show exhibitors and attendees, Crimp said that after discussing the cancellation with the IBC community, an early decision was preferential for the industry so it can plan for the future. 

IBC CEO Michael Crimp consulted with the industry and realized that a return to a new normal was unlikely to be achieved by September.

IBC CEO Michael Crimp consulted with the industry and realized that a return to a new normal was unlikely to be achieved by September.

“Right now, despite the best work of the IBC team and our Dutch colleagues, there are still many unknowns,” he said. “Therefore, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to deliver a safe and valuable event to the quality expected of IBC.”

While ensuring the safety of convention goers, the organization was also faced with a situation of low attendance, like it saw shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City, when attendance was 36,000, down from a pre-registration of 52,000.

Crimp also made it clear that many more exhibitors were concerned about sending their staff into uncertain health situations in which large gatherings across Europe have been cancelled across several industries.

“Whilst this is hugely disappointing for us all, IBC will continue to play a vital role in supporting the industry to get back on track wherever we are able,” Crimp said. “For more than 50 years, IBC has provided the central annual meeting place for the Media, Entertainment & Technology community.

He said that, like the NAB, which recently held an online-only NABShow Express virtual trade show (May 13-14) - and saw limited attendee participation online but served to keep the industry informed of new technology developments. Details of contingency plans will follow in the next couple of weeks.

Only last week, there were still signs that the IBC 2020 would go ahead as the RAI Amsterdam exhibition center announced that it planned to reopen its doors soon, following guidelines on social distancing issued by the Dutch government.

“If garden centers, department stores, home furnishing outlets like IKEA and DIY centers are able to open, so too can we,” said Paul Riemens. RAI CEO. “People visiting the RAI do so primarily in relation to their work, not for socializing and recreation as is the case with festivals and the like.”

The IBC show is said to be worth €80 million to the Amsterdam economy during its one-week stay.

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