NATPE said Saturday (January 8) it has canceled the upcoming NATPE Miami Conference and Marketplace, slated for January 18-20, after weighing health and safety concerns and the experience of an event that would no doubt have diminished attendance amid the latest nationwide surge of COVID-19.
The National Association of Television Program Executives will look to smaller virtual and possibly (where appropriate) in-person events in 2022 at no charge to attend, NATPE CEO JP Bommel said in a statement.
While the CES consumer electronics convention went ahead as an in-person event this past week, with extra safety measures and much smaller than usual attendance, other conventions and awards shows have succumbed to the reality of rising COVID-19 cases and travel difficulties and canceled in-person gatherings. TV shows have had to cancel or reschedule production after hosts tested positive, and sports leagues including the NHL have had to call off games or limit attendance.
NATPE Miami typically is a smorgasbord of content-focused panels and keynotes, an awards platform and a marketplace for buying and selling TV shows, including a strong international focus.
“Although this decision from a financial point of view will cost the organization a great deal of money, that was secondary to our primary concern, which is to put the welfare of our members first," Bommel said in a statement. "We put a great deal of safety protocols in place, but it is just not enough given the intensity of this virus which is spreading at an enormous rate all over the world. We look forward to producing a strong conference at the right time and under the best circumstances, and to provide all our attendees with the greatest value we can offer.”
NATPE Miami went virtual in 2021 when COVID-19 was raging, that decision being taken in October 2020. ■
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Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.