Apple, Netflix drop out of SXSW conference over coronavirus outbreak


Tech giants continue to drop out of this month’s South by Southwest festival over coronavirus concerns, threatening an event that typically serves as one of the industry’s most influential gatherings.

Apple Inc. said on Wednesday that it wouldn’t be attending the conference, which kicks off March 13 in Austin, Texas. The iPhone maker and streaming-video provider had planned to debut three new Apple TV+ projects at the festival, including a Spike Jonze documentary about the Beastie Boys, an original series called “Central Park” by Loren Bouchard, and a series called “Home” from Doug Pray and Matt Weaver.

Netflix Inc. also is pulling out, according to a representative for the company, canceling five film screenings and a panel. It had planned to screen the feature film “Uncorked” and four documentaries. Variety reported earlier on the move. Inc, Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. have already dropped out of the conference, and SXSW organizers are under pressure to cancel the show altogether. But the conference’s management has said they’re following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and don’t feel they need to take that step yet.

Apple may have to make another decision soon. The company typically holds a wide-ranging conference for software developers in June, and hasn’t said yet if it’s changing plans for that event.