The NAB Show, which was cancelled in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, has been moved from April to October 2021. That puts the Las Vegas show just a month after the IBC Show in Amsterdam, despite claims by the National Association of Broadcasters to have avoided direct conflicts with other events. It seems like a strategic gamble for high stakes.

NAB Show will now take place in Las Vegas from 9 to 13 October 2021, six months later than normal, just a month after its European competitor.

Gordon Smith, the president and chief executive of NAB, said: “We have done our best to avoid direct conflicts with other domestic and international events, and have reached out to allied organizations and partners to both share our thinking in advance and to offer to work collaboratively toward turning this into an opportunity for all.”

“Since the early stages of the current global crisis, we have done our best to balance our decision-making with the long-term interest of NAB members and the wider media and entertainment industry. We have not made this decision lightly and have relied on a great deal of feedback from the NAB Show community.”

The announcement came shortly after the IBC Show in Europe confirmed its next event would take place from 10 to 13 September.

While that does not put the conventions in direct conflict, many exhibitors and attendees may question whether they will attend both events. Which one they choose to back is another matter. Some may be questioning the value of such large trade shows in any case.

The NAB Show attracted over 90,000 attendees in April 2019. 24,000 of them came from 160 countries beyond the United States.

The IBC Show drew 56,000 attendees in September 2019 from from 150 countries around the world.

Both NAB and IBC have been making efforts to create online experiences that can extend through the year.

The exhibition director for IBC said: “Bookings for our Amsterdam event are strong, and our customers are also embracing the opportunities we are creating with our new virtual platforms. The future of events is hybrid and IBC intends to be ahead of the game in giving our customers what they need to achieve significant ROI and grow their businesses.”

The phasing of NAB in April and IBC in September has provided a steady rhythm for product developments and announcements over many decades. That has been inevitably disrupted by the pandemic. Whether it will recover its stride remains in the balance.