NCTA's The Park: New Ideas For New Telecom

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Like a typical for-profit business, most non-profit industry trade groups must adapt to changing realities if they are to survive. That doesn’t just apply to general lobbying and related activities, it also applies to an annual trade show.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association is certainly no different, and 2011 will offer up some fascinating new communication forms as NCTA tries to enhance its draw power and the responses of its typical 12,000 show attendees.

NCTA’s creation of an exhibition- floor stage, this year involving nine different sessions in a “Hyde Park, London”-like setting, is one of the better 2011 examples offered by this cable association representing the largest and most lucrative of the thousands of U.S. cable companies and their constituents.

“The Park” is a stage setting, with room for several dozen seats, located on the east side of the McCormick Center NCTA Cable Show 2011 Exhibition floor in Chicago. The first session in “The Park” commences Tuesday, June 14, at 12:30 p.m-1:30 p.m (CT), and, as an example of a typical session, will feature the author moderating a group of four speakers, entitled “Socially Acceptable: Community Engagement In A Socially-Driven Interactive World.”

Following introductions, in most cases, each speaker will deliver about 10 minutes’ worth of on-camera and Internet-streamed dialogue, followed by a moderator wrap-up. For those in distant places wishing to join and view via the Internet, the link is

Other sessions will focus on topics including, in order, Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., “Unplugged: The Mobile Extension of Cable’s Value Proposition”; Wednesday, June 15, 11 a.m.-noon “Ideas In Action: Partnerships That Drive Broadband Adoption in America”; noon-1 p.m., “Consumer Voices: Digital Natives - Habits and Habitats of the Next Generation”; 1 p.m-2 p.m., “Cable Bridge: You Can Get There from Here”; 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., “TV Everywhere - “The Latest in Cable’s Anytime, Anywhere App-focused Attitude”; and Thursday, June 16, noon-1 p.m., “Consumer Voices: New Advertising Strategies and What Consumers Will Find Helpful (Or Not)”; 1 p.m.-2 p.m., “Network Nirvana: Achieving Harmony In Cable’s Connected Home”; and 2 p.m.-3 p.m., “Problem Solvers: Innovating For The Greater Good.”

The NCTA has installed some ideas to make the presentations particularly worth attending, including some “fun” audience engagement, and some innovative ways to welcome more traffic into “The Park.” One example is to have two moderators for one session, one on-stage, and one on the show floor beside a booth of one of the session participants.

The NCTA Cable Show 2011 opens the morning of Tuesday, June 14, and ends the afternoon of Thursday, June 16. All sessions and exhibitions are held this year at the Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center, south of downtown on the lake. More information - including housing — is available by going to the NCTA website at

Jimmy Schaeffler is chairman and CSO of Carmel-by-the-Sea-based consultancy The Carmel Group (