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LA Screenings cancelled

This year’s LA Screenings have been cancelled as a result of the travel restrictions imposed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, with Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, ViacomCBS and Warner Bros exploring other options.

The LA Screenings were set to take place between May 12 and 20 this year, with buyers from around the world flying into the US to sample the latest programming from the US majors.

“It is out of an abundance of caution, and with the health and well-being of our clients and employees at the forefront, we have collectively decided to not hold LA Screenings events this year and will instead explore alternative options in which to showcase our respective upcoming content,” the group said in a collective statement.

“While we look forward to hosting our clients at this time-honoured industry event, in acknowledgement of – and out of respect for – the travel bans, travel restrictions and evolving public health concerns of our global client base, we believe that not having our clients and executives travel into LA from various locations around the world is the most responsible course of action. Each major US international TV distributor will be individually communicating its alternative screening plans to clients soon.”

US President Donald Trump’s coronavirus travel ban from 26 European countries is due to go into effect at midnight EDT.

It affects only countries that are members of the Schengen border-free travel area and does not affect US citizens, the UK or Ireland.

More than 1,700 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in the US, with 41 deaths so far.

Meanwhile, the Upfronts that usually precede the LA Screenings in May are also being disrupted in light of continuing concerns about Covid-19 and increasingly strict guidelines from public health officials in the US.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced a ban on gatherings of 500 people or more across the state “for the foreseeable future.” The ban comes into effect today at 5pm EDT as US officials try to contain the spread of coronavirus.

CBS Television Network, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, Fox and Discovery are among the companies that will forego their usual live presentations to the advertising community in New York City.

Instead, CBS Television Network will be hosting a video Upfront to be posted to digital platforms on May 13, while NBCUniversal will televise and stream its Upfront presentation.

Fox has said it will host a digital presentation for the advertising community to preview its latest programming and schedule and Discovery said it “has prepared an alternative digital experience.”

The news comes as cancellations and postponements of industry events continue to stack up, with the pandemic posing major questions for the international TV business’s day-to-day operations.

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