“IBC announces that the in-person IBC2021 event has been canceled. The move follows growing concerns about the COVID-19 situation in The Netherlands, which has deteriorated over the past week, and feedback from the IBC exhibitor and visitor community,” the IBC said in a statement.
“The IBC Partnership Board made the decision today in order to prevent exhibitors and visitors from traveling to The Netherlands,” the statement added. “IBC2021 will now focus on bringing the content and technology community together via IBC Digital.”
There were 22,956 new cases and 53 new deaths in The Netherlands on Tuesday and the government has classified the risk level as “Serious.” More than 84% of the population above the age of 18 are fully vaccinated. Protests have raged across the country over COVID-19 restrictions.
Offering a wealth of content, tagged and curated by a dedicated team, IBC’s digital platform offers free-of-charge access to the entire program and allows attendees to schedule live meetings with exhibitors and each other. It is also hosting a number of exclusive events including the IBC Innovation Awards, which sees BBC head of sports Barbara Slater receive the International Honor for Excellence, the event’s highest accolade dedicated to industry pioneers.
Highlights at this year’s edition include the keynotes which traditionally draw high-level speakers from renowned studios, broadcasters and media service providers. Guests include Mike Davies from Fox Sports, Vincent Tauzia from Netflix, Johannes Larcher from HBO Max, Olympic Broadcasting Services CEO Yiannis Exarchos, and Bob Hesskamp from WarnerMedia.
The advent of 5G and cloud-based tech will be the overriding themes, CEO Mike Crimp told Variety.
“I suspect we’ll see quite a lot of innovation around 5G. The biggest example seems to be its adaption for sport: it’s very expensive to move trucks and staff around the world, and you can put a camera anywhere with a 5G network. We’ve got a very good case study of all the top broadcasters using 5G in sport and how they are planning on using it in Qatar for the World Cup,” he says.
A mecca for industry players along with NAB in Las Vegas, which was canceled for a second-year running amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, IBC was pushed back from its traditional September slot to December because of global travel restrictions linked to the pandemic. The event, which also went digital last year, normally brings together hundreds of exhibitors big and small showcasing the latest innovations in media technology.
Lise Pedersen contributed to this report.