Cable Show 2009: NCTA Projects 20% Attendance Drop

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Citing the struggling economy, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association on Monday was expecting attendance at Cable Show '09 in Washington, D.C., to be down 20% compared with last year's event.

That would mean a crowd of less than 10,000 for the April 1-3 confab in the nation's capital, compared with 12,100 registered attendees in New Orleans for the 2008 show.

"Attendance has taken a huge hit because of the economy," NCTA vice president of communications Brian Dietz said. "We're still tracking the range of being down 20%, as other industry trade shows have experienced."

Dietz noted the group will not have official numbers until registration closes Friday.

On the other hand, NCTA expects more than 200 members of Congress to attend the Cable Show, plus another 100 congressional staffers or members of the Obama administration.

With the anticipated turnout by U.S. Senators and Representatives, "we'll have the most-successful show ever with the sheer number of members of Congress," Dietz said.

President Obama will not be attending the show, as he is scheduled to attend the Group of 20 economic summit  of industrial and emerging market nations in London this week.

This year's show has attracted 247 exhibitors that will have booths on the floor. Including exhibitors in the Broadband Nation showcase exhibit and CableNET, the total number of participating companies comes in at about 300, which was roughly the count last year.

The show's exhibit space will shrink a bit, to about 160,000 square feet compared with 180,000 square feet last year in New Orleans' Morial Convention Center.

D.C.'s Walter E. Washington Convention Center is "a smaller convention center than other cities," Dietz said.