How Long Can You Remain Dark Before You Enter Oblivion?

Calling a “go” or “no go” to hold an event has made reading tea leaves look like child’s play. COVID-19 variants, rising inflation, the Russia-Ukraine war and internal budgeting issues have caused many exhibitors and sponsors to either delay their decision to attend or decide to put their participation on hold. Many events have been dark since 2019, and now 2022 is shaping up to be a mixed bag.

I was a bit surprised to read that E3 announced the cancellation of its June event. E3, the gaming expo created by ESA, has been active since 1995, but attendance and buzz waned in recent years with events like GDC and VentureBeat Gaming nipping at its heels. The word is that E3 will focus on building back better in 2023, but it begs the question of relevancy. The show has been canceled three years in a row. Voids get filled. Can E3 survive until 2023? Weigh in on our community board

NAB, which is taking place as I type, is reporting 55,000 attendees, a respectable number for this post-pandemic era, especially after a two-year dark period. The last NAB was held in person in 2019 and the event had a reported attendance of roughly 91,000. The shiny fruit for NAB is relevant content. As remote production, remote events and remote workforces become the norm, NAB has seized the moment to emphasize new production tools, the cloud and virtual production.

On the other hand, with fewer than two months to go, Cannes is scrambling. They’ve reported that the show will be smaller and that many agencies are still undecided about whether to make it to the Riviera this year. But they did announce a cool TikTok partnership, so global reach is assured. 

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