Associations Hope NCTA Meeting Will Be ‘Collaborative, Not Dictorial’

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Executives at cable’s varied associations say they are approaching Oct. 22 NCTA-hosted gathering on possible meeting consolidation with trepidation, stating they hope that process will be “collaborative, not dictatorial.”

They added they anticipate the company CEOs which make up the NCTA board will pursue trimming cable’s meeting calendar in a way that does not undermine the success and momentum of the organizations involved.

Groups that could be impacted by the move include Cable Positive, Women in Cable & Telecommunications, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.

In advance of the meeting, charities, diversity groups and other trade organizations have been asked to provide their financials to the board, including the amount they have outstanding in booking fees to venues for conventions, meetings and dinners; and the cancellation costs for those meetings.

The information distributed by the NCTA outlines the problem the CEOs would like to address: a calendar indicates events some 40 of the 52 weeks each year. Some executives noted there are events included in that list are not cable controlled, such as the Consumer Electronics Show.

Meeting planners anticipate a push to consolidate meetings under two “tent poles,” one meeting in the spring (NCTA’s The Cable Show) and in the fall (possibly CTAM, which as of next year is moving to November).

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, president and CEO of Women in Cable & Telecommunications, said she understands the needs of companies to trim the number of days their employees are out of the office at meetings. But she noted that organizations like hers are businesses, too, with staff and office space to support with revenue generated by meetings.

WICT’s gatherings are not just about money, she added, but also about celebrating the progress of women it represents, and networking with the next wave of potential executives.

“Those platforms are as or more important than money,” she said of the organization’s meetings.

Another executive, who asked not to be identified, acknowledged that the many cable organizations all work for the cable operators and networks at the end of the day, and need to meet their needs. Still, “it’s not like we sit around dreaming up new meetings.” Meetings are created to fill a knowledge void, the executive said, and have been driven by the industry’s product expansion.

Some organizations have already heeded the consolidation call, they noted. For instance, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau moved its meeting to Las Vegas during The Cable Show convention in May.

“We’ve already made the decision,” said CAB public relations executive Chris Jones.

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