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Due to the current climate surrounding COVID-19, Avid — the maker of entertainment technology including the widely used Media Composer editing system and ProTools audio post technology — is continuing its pause on exhibiting at large trade shows throughout 2022, meaning that it will not host exhibits at the annual NAB, NAMM and IBC events.
“We’ve done a lot of careful soul searching on what to do during 2022, and when I look out at 2022, obviously in certain areas of the world, things are starting to calm down now and omicron is starting to subside, but on a global scale, it’s not quite there,” Avid CEO Jeff Rosica tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m still worried personally, and I think we as a team [asked], ‘Do we really know if this is the end of it? And do we really know if this is where we’re all gonna be?’ Especially when we think about these big global trade shows where we’re attracting people from, you know, 50 or 100 countries.”
Last spring Avid decided not to participate in large trade shows during 2021 due to COVID uncertainty, and this is a continuation of that plan.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, which in 2019 reported attendance of roughly 91,000, is slated to occur April 23-27 in Las Vegas. The 2020 edition of the show went virtual due to the pandemic. A 2021 event was scheduled to be held Oct. 9-13 in Las Vegas but was canceled just weeks before it was set to begin due to a surge of the delta variant.
The annual International Broadcasting Convention (iBC) is typically held during September in Amsterdam. After canceling the 2020 edition, IBC scheduled a 2021 in-person event from Dec. 3-5 that was canceled just a little more than a week before it was slated to begin after host country the Netherlands announced a three-week partial lockdown due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show is typically held in January. It’s 2021 edition was cancelled and a 2022 show is scheduled for June 3-5 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Rosica says that while Avid won’t have exhibition stands at these event, the company does intend to have representatives at this shows to participate in other ways. He also noted that as Avid does intend participate in smaller, local in-person events during 2022, as well as hold a road show that will come to cities such as Los Angeles and London to get face-to-face time with customers.
On Avid’s decision for large 2022 trade shows, Roscia tells THR, “We really looked at it, on one hand: Are we sure right now, if we’re gonna make commitments in these shows, that we can carry it out in a safe way? But also, we’re making a judgment now as to, will things really be back fully to normal?”
“We’re talking about the big shows. These big shows are all about bringing tens of thousands of people from dozens and dozens of countries around the world,” he continues. “Are we really gonna be at a stage where we’re gonna be able to bring those people together [in a safe way] so that also it’s successful, because we spend a lot of money at these shows. These are multimillion dollar events [for exhibitors such as Avid]. We don’t yet feel really confident that these shows are gonna be able to track the level of attendees in 2022, because we still think of this as kind of a transition year of coming out of COVID.”
Rosica says Avid remains “big believers” in NAB, NAMM and IBC. “I do think organizations [behind] these big trade shows are gonna have to look at their strategies,” he adds. “Customers have told us very clearly, they want more content in our marketing. They want more digital, they want more virtual [and] they do want face to face. I do think that these organizing are gonna need to — and I know they are already looking at their strategy — to look at, you know, more localized events, more regional events, more digital, more content. I think like all of us they are gonna have to look at their strategy a bit because for us, our strategy will forever be based on what we learned in the last couple years.”
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