The event landscape is changing, but we've still got you covered

Commentary: With Geneva canceled, the coronavirus is testing the industry like never before. Here's how we're handling it at Roadshow.

Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Tim Stevens
3 min read

What could have been?

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

As I write this, shockwaves from the last-minute cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show in response to the coronavirus outbreak are still rippling through the industry. While that event's termination was abrupt, however, in many ways it was simply the acceleration of a seemingly unavoidable trend. That is, the industry's shift away from big events. Once wellsprings of excitement, the concept of the mighty auto show increasingly feels like a relic of times past. Better times, yes, but bygone ones nevertheless.

Over in the consumer tech industry, this is nothing new. Big events like CES or E3 play second fiddle to individual product launches. As part of the CNET family, Roadshow's roots are firmly within this space. (And my own, too -- I covered my first E3 back in 1997.) Given that, I wanted to take a moment to share how we at Roadshow are handling all this change, because despite all the uncertainty today, we're still poised and ready.

For one thing, we pride ourselves on being agile. Despite the tardy cancellation of Geneva, we quickly pivoted from preview to post-mortem. And, thanks to the skills and connections of our European team, we secured access to shoot lovely, exclusive videos of the biggest cars from the would-be show, such as the McLaren 765LT, the Aston Martin V12 Speedster, the Porsche 911 Turbo S and the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport.

We also streamed the online unveilings of many of those cars to you live on our YouTube channel. This isn't new; we do it at every auto show, because it's the closest we can get to bringing you there with us. With the current uncertainty around live events, however, online streaming debuts will become ever more commonplace. We look forward to working with more manufacturers to make sure you see the metal for yourself the instant the sheets are pulled. 

We also work with automakers around the world to get early looks at their cars before they're unveiled. Thanks to our editorial presence in London, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco, we're well positioned to weather the current state of uncertain travel.

I'm also personally eager to watch the forced evolution of major global conferences. As a moderator at previous editions of Web Summit and Collision, and with the latter shifting to an online model this year, I'm confident the new Collision from Home will change peoples' perceptions on what attending a conference means. 

Finally, we're developing the best way to evolve our Shift Awards into an online event, moving away from their former physical presence.  

As we continue to gear up for the New York International Auto Show, we're ready to bring all the news to you however we must. We sincerely hope the show goes ahead as planned, assuming it's safe to do so, but we're actively reaching out to manufacturers to arrange the logistics to stream their conferences live on our YouTube channel -- whether from NY or some other, undisclosed location.

We're also working with carmakers to get early access to as many of the vehicles from the NY show as we can so, regardless of what happens in Manhattan, we'll have high-quality footage and impressions of what's to come. You can find it all here, and as ever, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest on this ever-evolving auto industry. 

I'll end by saying that I genuinely enjoy auto shows. I believe their value goes well beyond anything any media outreach service can calculate. I hope that they remain a fixture of this industry for a long time to come. Regardless of how the industry shifts and wherever we have to go to find the news, the team here at Roadshow is well positioned to bring it to you.

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