You may be busy trying to keep up with CES news this week, but there’s another trade show you might want to turn your attention to soon. Sure, NCTA’s Cable Show doesn’t kick off until April 29 in L.A., but five hotels partnering with the confab are already sold out.
Yep, you read that right. And if you were hoping to get Hilton or Marriott points, sorry to say, but the Hilton Checkers and JW Marriott are among those already gone. Sheraton Starwood members, you’re still in luck. For now. Check out hotel availability here.
Of course, any time the Cable Show is mentioned these days, you immediately hear someone talk about the “good old days” when deals were made right on the show floor and attendance surpassed 20K. Last year’s show in D.C. logged about 12K attendees, a sign of consolidation and just the changing nature of trade shows (and travel policies!). Some might be tempted to ask if there’s still a place for a big trade show in cable, given the industry’s presence at CES, Comic-con and other big events.
NCTA CEO Michael Powell made his case for us recently as to why the show must go on. “I’m a big believer in shows. I think you can underestimate how powerful a platform they are, both for the internal convocation of the industry—to let people come and be together and share what’s going on in their businesses—but secondly, we get an enormous amount of media attention around it. We get a platform to tell a story and we produce content and structures that we’re able to use all year long,” he said. One look at the video wall in NCTA’s HQ makes that clear, with it showcasing many images from the 2013 Cable Show. “Every Congressman that comes here for a fundraiser or a meeting, they get to consumer the thing we built in June.”
While the Cable Show isn’t a consumer show, like CES, it is still kind of for consumers, Powell said.
“We’ve been trying to make the show somewhat different and give it a different kind of energy and a different kind of focus that could be consumed by consumers. We realized that shows are really great for telling stories,” he said. “I don’t have this rigid separation that there is policy and consumers, which one is your audience. Yes, you should focus on an audience, but I’m a big believer that the language that companies use to market and talk to consumers, there’s no reason why that wonderful language can’t be used with policymakers.”
NCTA has tried to open the show up more to consumers as well, bringing college students to the show and last year, veterans. “If they come, I want them to be able to walk around and get it, and not wonder what all these people are talking about,” Powell said. “The show’s the show. And we make it fun and accessible and exciting and energetic as if we’re opening it to the public.”