Industry Insights: COVID-19 impacts on this year’s trade shows

By NewscastStudio

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The business of trade shows ground to a halt in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world.

In this multipart Industry Insights roundtable series, our panel of broadcast industry experts looks ahead to 2021. So what’s in store for trade shows – such as IBC and the NAB Show – this year as broadcasters continue to adapt to new workflows and business models?

Caution seems to be the word of choice as well as optimism in some return to in-person gatherings. 

Make sure to read the rest of our Industry Insights series, including:

Do you plan to attend trade shows in 2021? How do you prioritize NAB vs IBC in the fall?

“We are in a wait-and-see mode. Obviously, we have to protect our team and partners from any danger, so we will decide about our participation during the first quarter of 2021. We are members of NAB and IBC, both of which are great organizations that offer the gold standard in industry trade shows and conferences. We greatly appreciate the efforts they are making and will continue to make to keep the industry together through this difficult time,” said Claudio Lisman, president and CEO of Primestream.

“At this time, if these shows take place, Cobalt Digital plans to attend both IBC and NAB 2021. We will, however, certainly be examining our level of participation and address any adjustments that need to be made in booth design and activity. That said, we are disappointed that IBC and NAB are taking place so close to one another. Trade show organizers need to be aware of the impact on exhibitors and have a more sympathetic approach in these difficult times. Booth and staffing will be adjusted to meet new needs,” said Chris Shaw, executive VP of sales and marketing for Cobalt Digital.

“If they are held, we will be at shows in the second half of the year, but the question will be in what kind of presence. The vaccine news is really promising, and the guidance from government health officials seems to indicate that we will be getting back to the old normal in the second half of 2021. But it still remains to be seen how many end users are going to be in attendance at the events, so while we are surveying our customers and prospects, we are keeping our options open on what level of investment we will have. But we will be there,” explained Zixi’s senior VP of strategic alliances and marketing John Wastcoat.

“We see NAB and IBC as equally important, as they attract different customers. InSync Technology produces motion compensated standards converters which are used globally for international program exchange. It’s important for us to meet customers from all parts of the world, as each region has its own specific standards, requirements and preferences,” said a representative of InSync Technology.


“With this, ‘wait and see’ is the only realistic strategy. We’re going to be pragmatic about it. Our online marketing, which has been driven by instructional webinars and practical content like case studies and industry reports, has been very effective so there’s a lot to consider, even without COVID-19. That said, IBC and NAB are both important for us as they’re in strategic regions,” said Martin Coles, VP of marketing at IPV.

“Marshall has been attending NAB and IBC for decades, so we will be there once it’s determined to be safe. We plan way ahead of time for both tradeshows, NAB is a larger show for us, however IBC is just as important for the regions we cover. It will be interesting to evaluate ROI, now that we have a reference point with virtual meetings and remote customer engagement,” Tod Musgrave, director of cameras for Marshall Electronics, pointed out.

“We will attend both IBC and NAB, but we won’t be having our own stand at both events. I see a number of vendors partnering up to split costs and to show integrated workflows. For vendors offering multiple solutions it’s going to be very difficult and extremely expensive to justify paying for large floor space at two events that are so close together. I think we’ll see which regions vendors are focusing their attention on once we see which shows they prioritize,” said Phil Ventre, VP of sports and broadcast at Ncam.

“Looking ahead to 2021, we are planning to attend trade shows as it’s a huge part of our business strategy and new business outreach. Nonetheless, we will not be making any firm plans until the COVID-19 vaccine is in place and available for all. IBC is the first event of the season that we will start planning for and is our main focus for next year,” said Promethean TV CEO Ian Sharpe.

“Currently, we plan to attend NAB and IBC, although we may change those plans if the pandemic remains a threat. ChyronHego is a global company and we want to serve all of our customers in all regions, in a way that is safe for all of us. We are not likely to plan different content or product launches for the two shows, unlike a typical year with the shows a few months apart,” relayed Carol Bettencourt, VP of marketing for ChyronHego.

“The fact that our business has flourished during 2020 without the sizeable expense of trade shows has proven that the big shows drain resources and provide little if any return-on-investment. So we will not be attending any large trade shows in the foreseeable future,” said Rush Beesley, Rushworks’ president.



Claudio Lisman – Primestream
Chris Shaw – Cobalt Digital
John Wastcoat – Zixi
Paola Hobson – InSync Technology
Martin Coles – IPV
Tod Musgrave – Marshall Electronics
Phil Ventre – Ncam
Ian Sharpe – Promethean TV
Carol Bettencourt – ChyronHego
Rush Beesley – Rushworks

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