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Re: AJA will not be on-site at NAB2020

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Tim Wilson
Re: AJA will not be on-site at NAB2020
on Mar 5, 2020 at 12:21:51 am

[Tim Gerhard] "We decided to pull our MagStor LTO systems exhibit this year due to the virus."

Thanks for the update, Tim! Be sure to send us your news to press @ and we'll get it posted for you.

I have to say that I'm not especially paranoid about getting sick in general. What strikes me as imprudent right now is getting into a tube of germs to fly to the one event in the world where I've come home sick every single time, then climbing into another tube of germs with people who've been at the same event, almost certainly as sick as me.

I was trying to remember the year that SARS affected the Asian community, and vendors from that part of the world pulled out of NAB. One thing I hadn't considered until a recent conversation is that some companies might not be given a choice because of travel restrictions.

Not that we need to decide NOW what we're going to do with every trade show ever. But this year is different, and treating it like it's the same just doesn't seem prudent to me.

[Oliver Peters] "Avid, EditShare, and many others started there."

They started in very different NABs. They were dramatically smaller shows then, and much more focused on people who had the money to attend. There weren't free tickets in any large numbers, and travel to Vegas was difficult and expensive -- nothing like the Disneyland-ified travel packages, tons of flights available world of today, where the majority of people walking the floor aren't there to buy five and six figure systems like the ones Avid and EditShare launched with.

You used to need money to fly to Las Vegas, you needed money to get on the floor, "cheap" NLEs like Media 100 ran $30,000 and up, "cheap" camera rigs like BetaSP ran in the same range, and you can double those prices for today's economy. THAT's who went to NAB. People who had mid-five to low-six figures to spend for the CHEAP stuff, so you COULD launch companies like Avid and EditShare there. It's not the same now.

I'm all for the democratization of video -- I'm only in this industry because of it, and it's why the COW exists at all -- but I can also tell you that after working in the Boris FX booth for three years at the turn of the century, the Apple booth in 2003, and the Avid booth in 04-06, that I spent easily half my time explaining to people what video editing even is. You really haven't experienced tire-kicking until you've actually worked an NAB booth.

That was fine by me, though. We all start somewhere, and I'd rather help people who knew they didn't know stuff than waste my time with the NO-it-alls who came to the booth just to yell at me or try to make me feel stupid. (You'd be amazed, or maybe you wouldn't be, by how many people seemed to come to NAB for the SOLE purpose of yelling about something.)

Along the way, I definitely saw people's inclination to spend money plummet like a stone.

I mentioned in my earlier post why I think the North Hall crowd will be around until the sun goes nova, but for our end of the market, I think NAB could prosper more as a training and meeting event....but I'm not sure that even THAT is necessary for anything more than habit. There are energized user groups around country (I've presented to scores of them myself) and around the world (I've presented at a good handful of those too), and I think that as vendors find that it's cheaper AND SAFER to do road shows, regional events, and user groups that the ROI on NAB is fading fast.

Think about a company like LumaForge. I'm sure that they've made money at NAB, and will for as long as they feel like going, but they don't NEED it. At this point, I think they do way, way more to add value to NAB than NAB is adding to them, and they could do darn near all of it online, with a handful of local events or a road show that they could do for a fraction of NAB.

I hope nobody anywhere gets sick, and I hope everyone recovers. Get your flu vaccines, people. I don't have any doubt that we'll solve this problem and be able to jet around wherever we want next year.

But I'm also aware from having some immuno-compromised folks in my family that I could easily survive something like the flu or Coronavirus that I might pass along as a carrier, that would kill THEM. I gotta tell you, I'd really rather not live with the burden of killing an older or younger loved one because I felt the need to see a bunch of new widgets or old friends. It can all wait this year.

And to Mark's point above, I think it's also a good time to re-evaluate whether a show done in this manner, in this place, is the right way to do any of this.

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