The coronavirus crisis is already impacting the electronic communications industry, with an increasing number of events being cancelled.
What is more, things are likely to get worse – perhaps even much worse – before they get better.
The first to fall victim was of course MWC 2020, which was due to be held in Barcelona in late February. Faced with a growing number of exhibitors and companies dropping out due to health concerns, the organisers GSMA said it was “impossible” to hold this year’s congress and pulled the plug.
Since then, we have seen DVB World, due to be held next week in Valencia, and MIPTV, scheduled for March 30-April 2 in Cannes, also cancelled. Serious concerns are now being raised about other shows, although at this stage the 2020 NAB Show is still officially taking in Las Vegas in late April.
Organisers remain hopeful, determined even, that other events scheduled for late spring/early summer will go ahead as planned. They include Webit’s Digital Entertainment Media Summit (DEMS), which after two years in Sofia is relocating to Valencia; NATPE Budapest; and NEM in Dubrovnik. In the latter case, Broadband TV News will be continuing a partnership that dates back to the early years of what is now one of the CEE region’s most successful shows.
Company policies, including travel bans on their employees, are largely deciding the fates of upcoming events. Although there is undoubtedly now an element of fear and panic in the industry, reflecting the wider world and the blanket coverage of coronavirus in the media, we should remain positive about the future.