The Independent Show Goes Virtual

The Independent Show 2021 logo

The Independent Show, slated to return to live-and-in-person for the first time in about a year, has told its members that the conference, slated for Oct. 5-6 in Minneapolis, will now be held virtually.

This will be the second virtual Independent Show -- the 2020 conference was also held virtually because of pandemic concerns. Although the show’s organizers -- the National Cable Television Cooperative and ACA Connects -- were enthusiastic about returning to an in-person format (this year's show is titled "The Power of Together"), concerns about the COVID-19 virus (and its delta variant) forced their collective hands.

“After thoughtful discussion, ACA Connects and NCTC decided to take the Independent Show online next month because of difficult planning issues despite strong enthusiasm for such an important industry event to take place in Minneapolis. It’s the correct decision, with broad support from both ACAC and NCTC members,” ACA Connects Chairman Patricia Jo Boyers said in a press release. “I’m positive the online event will be a smashing success.”

Other industry events that had also been slated to be in-person have pulled back to virtual status because of concerns over the pandemic as well as continued business travel restrictions. In June the Cable Center said it would hold its Hall of Fame celebration virtually in October. Earlier this month, it pushed the date to Nov. 15. Last week, the Mid-America Cable Telecommunications Association said its annual conference would be held virtually as well. 

TIS organizers had planned several COVID precautions, including requiring attendees show proof of vaccination or provide a negative test for the virus prior to the meeting, that face masks be worn indoors at conference events regardless of vaccination status and that social distancing be practiced. The organizers had also planned to live stream sessions so members could watch the events from home or at the show.  

But that apparently was not enough to quell concerns.

“COVID-19 and the Delta variant have been a moving target. While our plan was to finally meet in-person, it has become more and more clear that it was not the responsible thing to do,” NCTC CEO Lou Borrelli said in a press release. “Nevertheless, the online show to me is a can’t-miss program, and I greatly look forward to seeing friends and members on the big screen.”

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.