By Thomas Ford

Blog, COVID-19, IBC

May 13, 2020

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Since the COVID-19 global pandemic took hold, all trade shows in the first half of 2020 have been either cancelled or postponed. IBC, held in Amsterdam in September and one of the most important events in our industry, is still planning to go ahead with 2020 registration opening this week.

We were at a loss as to whether we should participate under the circumstances. In an attempt to understand how others were thinking about this dilemma, we partnered with Digital TV Europe in early April on a poll that asked two simple questions: 

Q1. As of now, IBC 2020 has not been cancelled. If the show proceeds as planned this year, will you attend?

  • YES - I’m ready to get going
  • NO - You must be joking
  • DOESN'T APPLY TO ME - I never attend IBC
  • NOT SURE - It’s just too early to tell right now
Q2. If you answered Not Sure, please select your reasons below:
  • Not sure my company’s travel ban will be lifted
  • Nervous about being around a lot of people
  • Hadn’t done any planning / preparation under the circumstances
  • Not sure it will be well attended this year

Overall, more than 430 people responded (admittedly a small percentage of the total IBC attendance in 2019). And the results were interesting, though maybe not surprising. 

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Here are the results for Question 1:
  • NOT SURE - It’s just too early to tell right now (49.19%)
  • YES - I’m ready to get going (27.15%)
  • NO - You must be joking (21.35%)
  • DOESN'T APPLY TO ME - I never attend IBC (2.32%)
The YESes and the NOs are in the same range indicating almost half of the respondents have a strong opinion either way (note: we were a little surprised that more people didn't say no). The NOT SUREs at 50% made sense given that there is a lot to consider with ever-evolving circumstances, which led us to our second question. 

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Here are the results for Question 2:
  • Not sure my company’s travel ban will be lifted (43.61%)
  • Nervous about being around a lot of people (43.17%)
  • Not sure it will be well attended this year (41.41%)
  • Haven't done any planning / preparation under the circumstances (27.31%)

Based on this, it seems that most people share similar concerns around travel, health and return on investment. Interestingly, not being prepared to participate this year was less of an issue. That signaled to us that people remain hopeful about the show going on.

For our part, and after much painful deliberation (being somewhat informed by the poll we conducted), we have decided to opt out of 2020 and instead return in 2021 as an exhibitor at our industry's most important event.

P.S. Across the board, there were some really good comments. We were particularly intrigued by this one from an anonymous participant:

"I look forward to the Amsterdam trams being less crowded than usual. I also have had COVID19 and am now invincible. A bit like Spiderman, but without the skin-tight costume."

😳