With the Cable Show kicking off in L.A. Tues, attendance was shaping up to hit approx 10K. “We're down just about the amount of Washington people who come to the show,” said NCTA vp, industry affairs Mark Bell, referring to the number of lawmakers and Hill staffers who were able to attend the show last year in DC. The show floor is expected to be about as large as last year's, 105K sq ft with 230 exhibitors (24 of which are CableNET participants). Just as DC's show had a huge public policy presence, L.A. will have a West Coast vibe. “We love being in L.A. We love the intersection of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. I think you'll see this year maybe an even deeper concentration on the content side of the business,” Bell said. That's reflected throughout the schedule from “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter's appearance during a general session to a live, 48-hour student film contest called “The Imagine Film Competition.” In 2 days, student teams from 3 L.A.-based universities will move from original script to original film, shooting in the exhibit halls and around the L.A. area. They'll edit the films inside Imagine Park (the Show's live event stage in the middle of the show floor), with a panel of celebrity judges choosing a winner Thurs morning. New this year is the 1st ever happy hour in Imagine Park, sponsored by Time Warner Cable (Tues, free from 5pm-6:30pm). Also new this year is the “Internet of Things Lounge” at Imagine Park. “It's a place where people can come, kick up their feet, charge up their phones and maybe learn something. While people are in there, we want to pique their curiosity, challenge their thinking about what it means to have a billion connected devices by 2018,” Bell said. How do you do that? By letting visitors interact with everything from plants that report whether they need water to IP-enabled Legos. This year's show is co-chaired by Time Warner Cable chmn/CEO Rob Marcus and ESPN pres/ Disney Media Nets co-chair John Skipper. Check out what they had to say about the convention, the Comcast-TWC merger and sports costs in the Cablefax Pre-Show issue.

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