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Cable Show Preview: Going Inside the Beltway

Politicos, Innovative Tech Will Draw Attendees to NCTA Convention 6/03/2013 2:07 PM Eastern

More than 10,000 cable operators, programmers and equipment vendors are expected to descend on Washington, D.C., June 10-12 for The Cable Show, a chance to connect with legislators and top industry executives while getting a firsthand look at cutting-edge technology.

Attendance will come close to the 12,000 who came to Boston last spring. About 300 exhibitors are expected to span the 120,300 square feet of exhibition space at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. NCTA senior vice president of industry affairs Barbara York said she expected a last-minute surge because, as in prior years, MSOs are committing late to the show.

“This week and next week we should really see a response from MSOs and programmers,” York said. “I think the show is shaping up very well.”

Given the venue, York said, attendees will have ample opportunity to meet and greet legislators. As with past Cable Shows in Washington, the NCTA extends free admission to congressional staffers that qualify, and lower-cost admission to other legislative and agency staffers. All in all, York expects between 300 and 400 members of federal legislative bodies to attend.

On Sunday, June 9, Sportsman Channel hosts John Riggins and Scott Leysath will help host and cook at the network’s Hunt.Fish.Feed. event at two locations.

Hunt.Fish.Feed. is an outreach program that taps an underutilized food source — game meat and fish donated by sportsmen — to feed those struggling with hunger across America. Sportsman and The Cable Show will help organize and transport volunteers to serve a lunch at So Others May Eat and dinner at Central Union Mission. Between both shelters, volunteers will serve more than 700 people with venison donated by local hunters by the Mule Deer Foundation. Hunt.Fish.Feed. has served more than 14,000 meals since its inception.

“We’re especially honored to bring our Hunt.Fish.Feed. back to where it began in D.C. [in 2007] and work with the shelter where we started, Central Union Mission,” Sportsman Channel CEO Gavin Harvey said in a statement.

Both Riggins and Leysath have their own shows on the network. Riggins, an NFL Hall of Famer and former New York Jets and Washington Redskins running back, hosts the celebrity-loaded series Riggo on the Range and Leysath, an executive chef for more than 25 years, hosts Dead Meat and Hunt.Fish.Cook.

The Cable Show officially kicks off June 10 with a welcome from co-chairs Cox Communications CEO Patrick Esser and A+E Networks CEO Abbe Raven. NCTA chairman Michael Powell will take the podium for the opening keynote, followed by Twitter chief operating officer Ali Rowghani for the first segment of the opening general session, focusing on digital media.

On June 11, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts is expected to unveil its new user interface, X2, said to include a personalized recommendation engine. Acting Federal Communications Commission chair Mignon Clyburn will participate in a one-on-one discussion with NCTA chief (and ex-FCC chairman) Powell.

The Cable Show also will conduct a job fair for veterans, part of the Hiring Our Heroes initiative and in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Cable Television Human Resources Association, to pair up service men and women with potential employers. York said this is a first for a U.S. trade show, adding that about 30 companies have signed up to participate, and 300 veterans have already registered. Registration is expected to grow to 500 or more veterans by June 11, York said.

She added that the NCTA also is asking attendees who have done military service to self-identify by wearing a show-provided ribbon, to show that the cable industry has supported veterans from the beginning and that veterans populate all aspects of the cable business, including the top executive offices.

No Cable Show would be complete without star power, and this year’s convention is not lacking in that aspect.

Actress, entertainer, pop singer, fashion designer, humanitarian and NUVOtv chief creative officer Jennifer Lopez will take the stage for a candid interview at Wednesday’s Closing General Session. On the show floor, the One World Sports booth will have former Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine signing autographs and taking pictures.

Also returning will be Imagine Park, which last year brought more than 86 subject-matter experts and 40 product demos to the show floor. Now in its third year, Imagine Park returns with high-energy, high-impact stage events and a new special product showcase displaying the industry’s top technology breakthroughs.

A new exhibit on the show floor this year is The Observatory, a 360-degree immersive experience that stakes attendees on a journey through cable’s transformative evolution from the first multichannel television delivery platform, to the power of broadband, to today’s powerful content and delivery platform.

As part of The Observatory, the “Cable to Go” app Showcase will feature media and entertainment-themed apps for tablet devices.

Next year’s show will be held in Los Angeles from April 29-May 1.

 

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