NAB Show Cancelled Due To Coronavirus Concerns

The National Association of Broadcasters NAB Show, originally running next month in Las Vegas, is the latest in a string of conferences cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.


The National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled its annual NAB Show due to fears around the coronavirus pandemic.

Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the NAB Show, on Wednesday wrote in blog posted on the organization's website that the conference has been carefully monitoring domestic and international developments, and has decided to look for alternatives.

"In the interest of addressing the health and safety concerns of our stakeholders and in consultation with partners throughout the media and entertainment industry, we have decided not to move forward with NAB Show in April. We are currently considering a number of potential alternatives to create the best possible experience for our community," Smith wrote.

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[Related: Coronavirus Crisis: The IT Industry Prepares For The Worst]

The NAB Show this year was originally scheduled to run April 18 to 22 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Smith wrote that the NAB Show has provided superior value and experience for nearly 100 years.

"We knew that if we could not deliver on those expectations, we would not move forward. More importantly, keeping the community safe and healthy is NAB’s highest priority; therefore, we are deferring to the developing consensus from public health authorities on the challenges posed by coronavirus," he wrote.

The NAB Show showcases products and services aimed at audio and video professionals across the media and entertainment and technology business, including advertising, broadcast, security, film, government and military, sports, religion, and related industries. Last year the conference attracted 1,600-plus exhibitors and over 90,000 attendees from over 160 countries.

The conference typically has a good contingent of solution providers with a heavy media and entertainment focus in attendance.

One of those is Irvine, Calif.-based Technologent, which gets about 10 percent of its business from broadcast and media and entertainment customers, said Jon Mendoza, the solution provider's chief information security officer.

Mendoza said he is not surprised to see NAB Show cancelled.

"Whether canceling is good or back, this is being driven by customers," he said. "Most of our largest customers are already instructing their people to work at home. So most of our interactions are already happening by WebEx."

The COVID-19 coronavirus is starting to have multiple impacts on channel partners outside of conference attendance, Mendoza said.

"I believe one outcome will be for people to be more reticent about traveling, at least in the immediate future," he said. "And we're now having more serious conversations about business continuity and disaster recovery. This is a real big disruption for a lot of organizations."

The COVID-19 coronavirus is also resulting in heightened security issues, Mendoza said.

"We are seeing companies concerned about the coronavirus looking for information," he said. "If they have not strengthened their security around their people, it can be used as a way to attack a company. We're seeing people concerned about COVID-19 clicking on something related to COVID-19 and getting attacked by ransomware."

This spring has seen a lot of conferences cancelled, postponed, or converted to virtual events due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, including conferences sponsored by Rubrik, Zadara Storage, Dell Technologies, Eaton, Nvidia, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Google, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard.