WarnerMedia Latest to Sit Out SXSW 2020 Over Coronavirus Concerns

WarnerMedia Latest to Sit Out SXSW 2020 Over Coronavirus Concerns

03/06/2020

AT&T’s WarnerMedia is no longer participating in SXSW 2020 in Austin, Texas, joining a growing list of companies cancelling plans to attend the annual fest over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

“As a precaution, WarnerMedia has decided it best not to move forward with activations at SXSW,” CNN’s communications team said in a tweet Thursday. “We look forward to seeing everyone in Austin next year.”

Among WarnerMedia’s planned activities at SXSW this year had been a session on HBO Max with Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer, as well as a panel “Inside Innovation at WarnerMedia” with Jesse Redniss, GM, WarnerMedia Innovation Lab; Mark Yeend, director, product, interactive R&D at HBO; Greg Gewicky, VP, emerging technology at Warner Bros.; and Peter Scott, VP of emerging media and innovation, Turner.

The company’s decision follows the exit from SXSW by a number of others, including Netflix, Apple, Amazon Studios, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Mashable and Intel.

For now, SXSW organizers have said the music, tech and entertainment festival will proceed March 13-22 as planned, and Austin government officials said on Wednesday they saw no reasons to cancel the event and noted that no cases of coronavirus infection have been identified in the area. A Change.org petition urging SXSW to be cancelled because of the virus outbreak now has over 49,000 signatures.

Events that have been cancelled because of the coronvirus outbreak include MipTV, Google I/O, GDC, Facebook’s F8 and Mobile World Congress.

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