With IBC confirming that the 2021 event will take place at the RAI in Amsterdam in December, chief executive Michael Crimp explains how and why the decision was made.

Mike Crimp 5G World 2018 3x2

Michael Crimp: IBC CEO

It’s hard to believe that this time last year, we were only beginning to emerge from the first wave of Covid-19, with more tragic news, social restrictions, and lockdowns still to come. Today the world is slowly but surely, emerging from the pandemic.

While it won’t be an immediate return to the normality that we all miss, the impact of the accelerating global vaccination programme is the light at the end of the tunnel.

With this growing sense of optimism, the IBC Partnership Board has decided to hold IBC on 3-6 December 2021 - rather than in September.

Delivering a safe and valuable show with tangible results for everyone is our top priority. We believe that taking the option of holding the IBC Show in December gives the best possible opportunity for the content and technology industry to come together again in 2021.

It’s important that we shared the decision now so that everyone has enough time to adjust their plans accordingly. At the start of this journey, we committed to being open and transparent in order to maximise people’s time and resources, and mitigate unnecessary anxiety and speculation around our plans.

We did not decide to move from September lightly. Over the past month, we’ve invited the whole IBC community to have their say on IBC2021. I’d like to say a huge thank you for all the feedback and candid input we’ve received – we have always been “By the industry, for the industry”, and this ethos continues to guide our decision making.

As the evidence was gathered and considered, there was a shifting sentiment towards December from both exhibitors and visitors. Only one in ten (11%) of the visitors surveyed said they would not attend a December event, which tells us that there’s an appetite for the industry to get back to doing business face-to-face as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our survey revealed that two-thirds of respondents felt that the assurance of robust onsite health and safety protocols would encourage them to attend. Of course, it goes without saying that Health & Safety is critical and front of mind for everyone at IBC. Our operations team is laser-focused on creating a safe environment that participants can trust.

Vaccinations were a key consideration. The successful rollout of vaccinations across our key markets has instilled a greater sense of confidence in our ability to deliver a live show in Amsterdam safely. Macro trends point to accelerated vaccine rollout and opening of borders across IBC’s core markets over the next six months.

EU Commission data shows that Europe is now on track to achieve its 70% vaccination target by July 2021 and to significantly surpass this target by December. Additionally, 86% of visitors said they were “very likely” to have been vaccinated by December (and a total of 99% said “very likely” or “likely”).

Alongside feedback from the IBC community and the macro trends, we needed to consider Europe’s timeline for opening up for business because that will impact everyone’s ability to take part in a high-quality event. We believe that key services such as airports and airlines, and hotels will have established smooth operations and provide a more streamlined service by December.

Hybrid event

Of course, the date change is not the only thing that will be different about IBC this year. IBC2021 will be one of the first truly hybrid events of its kind, ensuring everyone in the industry can come together again, regardless of location.

We know that it will not be possible for everyone to be back on the show floor this year, and we will ensure that the IBC experience is accessible for everyone, wherever they are in the world.

The current climate has inspired us to think differently and to develop new approaches. We are creating an inspiring content programme and new opportunities to build deeper digital connections with the 250,000 global IBC community, to drive even greater ROI. We’re looking forward to revealing more on that soon.

IBC2019 beach

IBC2019: Networking at the beach

The past year has been immensely challenging for the entire content and technology industry, and IBC2021 will be an opportunity to celebrate the community coming back together again in a safe environment.

As September approaches, we’ll undoubtedly miss heading to Amsterdam as we have done for so many years. Still, we think hosting a show in December will help us all look forward to 2022 with greater optimism and opportunity.

I, for one, am very excited about what we have in store for IBC2021, and because many people have asked me, yes, The Beach Bar will still be open! Christmas on the beach! It will be fun!

We can’t wait to welcome you back in December. It has been far too long.

Michael Crimp is chief executive, IBC