Coronavirus cancellations near $1 billion

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The event economy is likely to suffer losses of US$1 billion as a direct result of tech industry event cancellations due to coronavirus.

The figure – calculated by PredictHQ and currently standing at $900 million  –  is based on the median fundamental costs incurred by delegates while attending specific major events, which were scheduled for the coming months. Naturally, as more events are cancelled the figure will increase, however, the actual losses to event organisers and hosts are unlikely to be calculated due to the sensitivity of the data.

Campbell Brown, CEO and co-founder of PredictHQ, said: “The event footprint of tech conferences is vast. According to Oxford Economics, business conferences alone generate $1.07 trillion in direct spending each year. When estimating an event’s economic footprint, we focus on median fundamental costs. Even by our fairly conservative estimates, the direct loss of coronavirus cancelled events is already staggering and likely to grow.

“Our intelligent data models aggregate and verify many details, including the predicted attendee total and event duration so we can do this precisely,” he continued.

Applying the formula to MWC took the losses to $480 million, comprised of domestic and international air fares, accommodation, transport and daily dining for all attendees.

The figures are released as another wave of tech event cancellations are confirmed. Overnight, announcements were made about the Red Hat Summit 2020, due to be held in San Francisco on 28 – 29 April, and Amazon’s AWS Summit 2020, scheduled for 7 – 9 April in Mumbai. AWS has also pulled out of HIMSS, the health tech conference scheduled to take place on 9 March in Florida, and cancelled its AWS Singapore Summit, which was due to start on 15 April.

As with the cancellation of Google I/O, confirmed yesterday, the decision taken by Red Hat was based on guidance from the CDC and WHO.

Meanwhile, AWS said in a statement: “We've reached this decision after much consideration, as the health and safety of our employees, customers, and partners are our top priority.”

However, as with Facebook’s F8 event, the 2020 edition of Red Hat will take a virtual approach. Now re-branded as the Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience, the “immersive multi-day event” will comprise keynotes, breakout sessions and “access to Red Hat experts”.

In a blog post announcing the news, Red Hat’s organisers wrote: “The safety and well being of Red Hat Summit attendees is our top priority, and as a precautionary measure, we have decided to rebuild Red Hat Summit 2020 as a virtual event and cancel the physical event at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

“We are still working through many of the details for the virtual event, but are excited about the opportunity to share our newest innovations with you and bring content on the latest in Linux, cloud, automation and management, container, and Kubernetes technologies to an even wider global audience,” it continued.

Elsewhere, telcos continue to weather a storm on the stock markets. As Capacity reported this week, around 60% of 36 top global telcos have performed  worse than the US-based Nasdaq index, which itself has fallen by 6.1% since 2 January, the first trading day of the year.