The CES schedule is a bit lighter, with a lot of the action being moved to online video streams and brand sites rather than in-person attendance in Las Vegas, and some discussions have been removed altogether after several high-profile attendees pulled out of the show at the last minute.
On Tuesday, the list of programs at CES was absent from the schedule. There was supposed to be a full day of seminars with leaders in the advertising world like Martin Sorrell and representatives from companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon, Twitter and IBM, but the sessions were missing from the CES site. The panel discussions are set to cover a range of topics such as connected TVs, e-commerce, social media and the metaverse, and were part of CES Media Day programming, which takes place ahead of the show’s official opening on Wednesday. However, a number of media outlets have also canceled plans to attend the event in Las Vegas.
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On Tuesday, major electronic brands are still hosting their major presentations, including LG, Intel, Bosch, Hyundai, John Deere and others.
Officials from the CTA, the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, declined to comment on how the schedule has changed in recent weeks. The Electronics Show has been affected by the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading companies to cancel attendance at the last minute. In the past month, Meta, Google, Twitter, Amazon, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Lenovo, Microsoft and others have dropped out in person. CES still only takes place with a smaller crowd in Las Vegas and with a few schedule adjustments. Companies that planned activities around CES moved the programs online, creating a large number of alternative paths to keep up with content around the event.
CES organizers built a digital venue using a program from Web Summit, the European technology conference. The program created a mixed conference with some content available online and the rest open to people who made it to Las Vegas. CES is one of the largest trade fairs and is known to attract over 170,000 people to Las Vegas. Organizers expected about half that number of people to turn up this year, but that estimate was before the mass cancellation.
CES is the first major industry event of the year, attracting leaders in technology, media and advertising. The exhibition is an opportunity for companies to study the latest trends in technology and how they can apply to their business and marketing strategies. A sudden rise in last-minute cancellations has led to some confusion over how events were accessed, with many conversations rescheduled. Space for C, the technology and media conference within CES, has been significantly reduced, and CES organizers have removed one day from the show, deciding to close on Friday instead of Saturday.
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave said CES is showing a lot of activity around the event from people attending remotely and on the ground as well. “Using the app is really amazing,” Cosgrave said in a phone interview. “CES will release all the numbers themselves, which we don’t have to do.”
CES organizers said attendance will be audited and released publicly when complete.
“I feel for CES,” Cosgrave said. “They did an amazing job to bring the event back. Of course, seeing anyone unable to come in person, it would always be better to have people on the ground in Las Vegas.”
Virtual events and pre-recorded shows
In January 2021, CES was an online-only conference.
This year, the pandemic has forced many brands to switch from in-person plans to virtual meetings and presentations, including P&G, Lenovo, Panasonic and Intel. Featured exhibitors at CES host keywords to introduce new products, and many companies are turning to pre-recorded shows on Tuesday. P&G, one of the best-known consumer product brands at CES, moved its presentation to a website, P&G LifeLab. Mark Pritchard, chief branding officer of P&G, was scheduled to host an online discussion on Wednesday. Meanwhile, prominent CES broadcaster Samsung was still poised to host a keynote address live from Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Mediaocean, a media management technology platform, has planned to host a space for clients and partners at The Cosmopolitan Hotel, near the heart of the action at CES. The ad technology company was producing a side conference featuring discussions with executives from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, P&G, Cadillac, and others. Aaron Goldman, Mediaocean’s chief marketing officer, said the company rented a 17,000-square-foot ballroom. “We had this massive thing planned at CES and we had to turn around,” Goldman said by phone on Tuesday.
The event will now take place online on Wednesdays and Thursdays. “It really sets the course for the year in terms of innovation, technology and the topics that people are going to talk about,” Goldman said. “If you’re working in space, it’s important that you understand that.”
MediaLink, the management consulting firm led by Michael Cassin, has moved its portion of the C Space discussions to an online venue. MediaLink plans to record a series of panels that were supposed to take place live in Las Vegas, and instead will be posted online next week.
As for top electronics companies like LG and Panasonic, they have online hubs dedicated to CES. Sony was scheduled to host a keynote Tuesday night in the Central Hall of the Convention Center, which was not scheduled to be streamed live online. CES organizers try to balance sharing content online while keeping some events exclusive to people who attend live. CES will post a Sony letter later for viewing upon request.
Some of the conversations will be streamed online, including a discussion about NFTs with famous influencer Paris Hilton, scheduled for Wednesday.