Organizers of the Edinburgh TV Festival are moving this year’s event to a digital format as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 edition was scheduled to take place August 26 to 28 in the Scottish capital. Instead, the conference will be reimagined as a digital event for the industry, with flagship sessions taking place virtually.
Programs to be delivered via the online platform include The MacTaggart Lecture, controller sessions and its awards, as well as the TV Foundation’s talent schemes, which include The Network, Ones to Watch and TV PhD.
Digital sessions and content will launch in the coming weeks with the program to be announced shortly, organizers said.
The main sessions of the event are expected to take place over the same three days in August, though details of participants and speakers will be revealed in due course.
In addition, the 2020 festival will look to improve access and support by making the event available to freelancers at no cost.
“We have decided that, in the best interests of everyone we would seek to bring together, educate and support, that we will not be staging the TV Festival physically in Edinburgh this August,” said festival managing director Campbell Glennie in a statement.
“For the past week we have been in consultation with our board, partners and supporters to re-examine not just what we could achieve this year, but more importantly what we should be doing to connect, discuss and find solutions to issues both perennial and particular to the evolving challenges we all face.
“Television’s vital role in our lives has never been so present, valued and cherished, and so the team will be doing everything we can in 2020 to keep discussion flowing, talent supported and diversity encouraged. It will not be the Festival we know, but it will still be the Festival we love.”
Advisory chair and BBC2 controller Patrick Holland added: “I believe that Edinburgh’s role as a lightning rod for our industry is more important than ever this year. The key themes we’ll be discussing; the future of the PSBs in the UK ecology, the role of TV in the climate emergency, reflecting the diversity of the audience in who makes and is featured in our shows – are brought into even sharper relief by the coronavirus crisis.”