IBC is scheduled to go ahead in a slightly smaller form in September, subject to pandemic conditions, and if it cannot be held safely (or if the ROI does not work for exhibitors based on the size of event that can be delivered) the exhibition and conference will be rescheduled to December 3-6 this year. The decision on whether to run the September event will be made at the end of May or in early June.
The dates for a September exhibition are September 10-13, with the conference running for the first three days of that. This means the event will be four days rather than its normal five. “We believe there is a very good chance of a show in September,” says Mike Crimp, Chief Executive of IBC.
IBC has promised it will set the standard for visitor safety if the event goes ahead, and has committed itself to helping the television industry “re-energize and re-engage” after the pandemic. In terms of safety, Crimp said, “Rest assured, we will go above and beyond anything we are expected to do to make sure everyone is protected while they are at our event.”
Turning to exhibitor engagement, Steve Connolly, Director at IBC, says, “Our focus is on collaborating with our customers to achieve the best possible results by driving conversations and lead generation, both through a live event and online. We have seen incredible optimism and support from our customers who, like us, are keen to get back to doing business. We have already reached 60% of stand bookings compared to 2019, with 650 stands and 30,000 square metres of space now booked across 13 halls.”
One notable change in the floor layout sees the Content Everywhere exhibits move to Hall 5, where a D2C/OTT content hub will also host presentations and discussions, providing exhibitors with a chance to talk to delegates. This is one of four content hubs, with others dedicated to ‘Production & Post’ and ‘Live Remote Production’ alongside the new IBC Showcase Theatre in Hall 12.
There will be an online programme for IBC whatever happens, which will be part of a hybrid (live plus virtual) event or become the centrepiece if the pandemic does not subside in time for a December event. Online personal interaction will be a key feature of this. The digital programme could include an opportunity to run product demos. The content will be quickly converted to VOD assets for on-demand playback. IBC has a database of 150,000 people to ensure scale for the digital programme.
The shorter event is a deliberate attempt to help exhibitors and visitors reduce costs. Crimp adds: “We have the perennial question of whether IBC should be four or five days but this year the industry will be in a recovery period and we felt it was right to reduce the length. One less day can save up to 20% on budgets.”
The organisers acknowledge that long-haul travel may be reduced on either the September or December dates, but believes that even if travel is allowed on a pan-European basis they will have the basis for a solid event.
The end of May/start of June decision date for a September opening is based on IBC’s experience from last year. This is when stakeholders need to know whether to press ‘Go’ or not. One of the reasons the decision can be as late as early June is that IBC has negotiated with its supply chain partners to push back the date when some costs become due.