The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) and ACA Connects (ACAC), sponsors of the annual Independent Show, on Aug. 31 announced that the 2021 event will be held online, offering members and vendors with an opportunity to convene as an industry in the safest possible manner, amid lingering uncertainty over the appropriateness of large in-person events against the shifting backdrop of COVID-19 infections.
This year’s Independent Show had been planned for Oct. 5-6 in Minneapolis, Minn. The event always included a streaming registration option as a convenience for ACAC and NCTC Members who were unable to attend in person. The decision to host the 2021 Independent Show online will not alter the meeting dates. The online show will occur Oct. 5-6, and the event will keep all the great content previously announced by NCTC and ACAC show planners.
According to an official statement:
In preparing for this year’s Independent Show, ACAC and NCTC leaders knew COVID-19 and the Delta variant were unpredictable elements deserving our careful attention. The No. 1 goal was always the safety of show attendees – reflected in decisions to put in place such measures as avoiding large crowds congregating in one area, making adjustments to food and beverage service, and implementing social distancing. However, even with those efforts, NCTC and ACAC planners could not, in good faith, ensure that they could provide a safe environment due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
“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. “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.”
ACAC President and CEO Matt Polka joined NCTC’s Borrelli in endorsing the move to an online show given the current health environment. “We felt that transitioning the entire event to virtual was the best option and in the best interest of our members and vendor partners,” Polka said. “But let’s look at the bright side: We are going to keep all the great content we had planned as well as offer a few fun surprises for those who are registered for the virtual conference.”
The Independent Show is an annual forum created to focus attention on the key public policy issues facing independent video and broadband providers and on other industrywide topics of concern and interest. ACAC, based in Pittsburgh, is the political voice for independent video and broadband providers while NCTC, based in Lenexa, KS, negotiates programming and equipment agreements for video and broadband providers.
“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,” ACA Connects Chairman Patricia Jo Boyers said. "It’s the correct decision, with broad support from both ACAC and NCTC members. I’m positive the online event will be a smashing success.” Mrs. Boyers is President of BOYCOM Vision in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
NCTC Chairman Brad Mefferd also applauded the move to take the 2021 Independent Show online. Chairman Mefferd is Chief Administrative Officer of Buckeye Broadband in Northwood, Ohio.
“Now that this decision is behind us, I’m pleased that we can now look forward to putting on a great Independent Show that is exclusively online,” Mefferd said. "I’m certain it will have high production values that ACAC and NCTC Members expect and deserve and will also have solid engagement opportunities for our industry’s valued vendor community,” Mefferd said. “I’m quite confident that everyone will benefit from the online experience that we have in store.”