At about this time in the year, we start to look forward to the NAB show in Las Vegas. It's slightly different this year. With the threat of being exposed to coronavirus, AJA is the first big company to say they are not attending.
Agreed, one company pulling out does not cancel the show and the organisers have already issued information relating to the virus and the show.
AJA don't do NAB on a budget. They have a sizeable stand, fly in many staff (that all need hotel rooms) and organise peripheral events such as the press briefing and social nights.
AJA has made the decision to withdraw from @NABShow 2020. We are excited to share new products coming to market and are transitioning all planned meetings, news and demos to web-based video conferences. https://t.co/j9VtjtXJka #NABShow— AJA Video Systems (@AJAVideo) March 2, 2020
Will we see others follow? Probably, this morning Adobe indicated that their 2020 Summit that happens a few weeks before NAB, will now be an online event.
The health and safety of our community is our top priority. After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult but important decision to host this year’s #AdobeSummit and #MagentoImagine as online-only experiences. https://t.co/wQQVpAo0dy— Adobe Summit (@AdobeSummit) March 2, 2020
Confidence is beginning to wane and visitors who already find it hard to justify the cost are re-evaluating the decision to go.
At some point a 'critical minimum mass' has to be sunk to for everyone; exhibitors and visitors to think it is not worth going. Why turn up if possibly only half the stands are active and all the social events have been cancelled? Why exhibit if attendances might be dramatically down?
We have seen on social media that NAB stalwarts who haven't missed a show in 25 years are going to make 2020 the first one they skip. Others are reporting that recent trade shows have had it tough, low attendance and unmanned booths.
The NAB show was already in flux. The move to the Sunday was a hat tip to non-broadcast content creators which the organisers knew they had to include. Will the recent events change NAB even more?
So should we be seeing coronavirus as an opportunity, not a problem? We all now have fast internet speeds, the cost of streaming is now at the point where teenagers can broadcast from their bedrooms. AJA has said that they will try to move their demos and meetings online. So why doesn't NAB grab the incentive and have a virtual show?
We don't want to see the show cancelled or postponed, but there might come a point in the near future where the organisers have no choice. There are already bans in France and Italy for large indoor gatherings.
One thing for sure, we will hear a lot more news in the future, good or bad.
Are you planning to attend? Have you decided not to go? Why don't you let us know in the comments below.