The One Show moves to online format amid coronavirus concerns
Amid growing concerns over the coronavirus, The One Club has announced that the One Show, one of the industry’s biggest and most-respected awards shows, will now be held entirely online. The One Club’s ADC 99th Annual Awards, Young Ones Student Awards and accompanying Creative Week events will also be streamed for audiences.
Outside the cancellation of SXSW Festival late last week, this marks perhaps the highest-profile industry creative event to curtail its activities due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The One Club’s Creative Week was originally set to be held from May 11-15 at venues around New York City.
Last week, the One Show announced that all of its judging would be done virtually, versus the traditional in-person format with its global group of jurors.
According to CEO Kevin Swanepoel, the organization decided late last Friday to take the whole festival online in an emergency meeting with the One Club board. “We were unanimous in this decision,” he says. “We had seen these big festivals had been affected and if companies as big as Adobe and Facebook can go online, we could do it too.” Last week, Adobe announced it was canceling its annual summit in Las Vegas and would take it all online, while Facebook also recently made the decision to make virtual its Cloud Next event, originally set to be held in San Francisco.
Swanepoel says the One Club had been in the middle of production on its Creative Week events and had paid deposits for the various venues, some of which it will not be able to recoup. “For us, it’s more than what we’re going to lose,” he says. It’s about keeping our creative community safe, not putting profits ahead of people.”
He adds that when various jurors were informed of the decision, “we got so many emails of relief from people around the world saying thank you as they were afraid of traveling,” while others said it was “just as well” due to travel restrictions placed by their agencies.
“It’s been a really rough couple of days,” Swanepoel says, noting that the decision did not come lightly.
The One Club has an office in China, and seeing the way events have unfolded there helped inform the move. “When we look at what happened in China, it started in mid-December and our office there is only coming back online now at about 50 percent, so if we extrapolated two months out, that would put us in May,” he says.
The One Club is a global organization that holds more than 80 events around the world all year. Swanepoel says the decision will take a financial toll, though likely the One Club won’t be as affected as other organizations that rely on a single main event for its profits. The One Show makes 55 percent of its revenue from submissions to its awards, while the remaining 45 percent is through ticket sales for its various global events.
Swanepoel says the juries, selected from around the world, will now be conferring on winners through teleconferencing. The new online format for Creative Week may not be entirely live, but the One Club is looking to create something that properly “recognizes the brilliant work and the individuals who created it.” He says there may be an upside to going online as well, with the opportunity to showcase speakers from around the world to a broader audience.
That said, the streaming will be a one-time event and the One Club plans to resume its usual format next year, with this year’s jurors returning in 2021 so they are finally able to partake in the in-person judging experience.
“This does affect our bottom line, but this is so much more important than the bottom line,” says Swanepoel. “We’ve got to be on the right side of this.”
The One Club will not be charging for any of the Creative Week experiences online, and the organization will also be giving full refunds to individuals and agencies who purchased tickets and tables to the One Show, ADC Awards and Young Ones.