Amsterdam Convention Center a Far Cry From IBC’s Roots

The 1967 edition of the International Broadcasting Convention of course wouldn’t be recognized by this year’s attendees of IBC. That show attracted about 500 attendees, mostly on the technical side of broadcasting, crowded into London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel to see just over 30 exhibitors show their wares. 

Color TVs were a miracle, coaxial cable distribution was in its infancy and engineers were just beginning to recognize how important standards could be to keeping things from breaking down into chaos. 

As the technologies changed, so to did the needs of the IBC to accommodate growing interest in what they offered. 

The Royal Lancaster Hotel lasted a year, with the IBC moving first to the Grosvenor House hotel in London and then to the Wembley Conference Centre. IBC would make Brighton in the U.K. its home up until the early 1990s, first in the Grand Hotel, then the Metropole Conference and Exhibition Centre. But the organization found itself growing too fast for what Brighton could offer, mostly due to a lack of hotel space. 

In 1992, IBC made the decision to leave its U.K. roots and head to the Netherlands, with the first Amsterdam conference taking place that July. And with the 1994 edition, the permanent, annual convention has been held every year in Amsterdam since. 

In recent years, IBC has needed the expanded room the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre offers, growing from just over 1,300 exhibitors in 2010 to more than 1,700 this year; 48,500 attendees in 2010 to more than 55,000 expected this year; and completely new tech zones dedicated to the latest and greatest in the broadcast industry.