Just 10 days before NATPE Miami 2022 was scheduled to welcome attendees, organizers announced Saturday the annual event is being canceled as COVID-19 cases surge across the nation.
The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) cited concerns about the health and safety of attendees as the reason for scrapping the annual conference, even though the organization will take a financial hit.
“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,” JP Bommel, president and CEO of NATPE, 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,” Bommel added.
Last month, NATPE said the conference would go on as planned at the Fontainebleau Resort with on-site testing, in addition to the already required proof of vaccination. But as the coronavirus crisis worsens because of the highly-contagious omicron variant, the decision was ultimately made to cancel the gathering.
New dates and locations are under consideration for the next NATPE Conference and Marketplace, and a decision will be announced later. Smaller events may also be held “throughout the year with either no fees or limited ones,” organizers said.
Each year the NATPE convention draws celebrities, content producers, media buyers, broadcast and cable networks looking to promote and acquire new programming.