The June 10-12 Cable Show in Washington, D.C., had more than 12,000 attendees, which is about on par with figures announced for the last time the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual convention was in the nation’s capital in 2009.
The convention’s attendance has maintained a range of about 12,000-13,000 the past several years. Before the show got under way, the NCTA had predicted attendance would be about on par with the 12,000 that attended last year’s exhibition in Boston.
The convention, when in Washington, usually benefits from visits by Capitol Hill and agency officials, staff members and attorneys to see the technology demonstrations and attend communications policy-oriented panel sessions. Before the show, NCTA convention overseer Barbara York said 300-400 federal employees and related interested locals were expected to come by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, again on par with 2009 figures.
During the convention, NCTA senior vice president of communications and public affairs Rob Stoddard said more than 200 House and Senate members were expected to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 200-plus legislators that had RSVP’d “yes” were about double the contingent that came in 2009, Stoddard said, adding that it was pretty evenly split between House and Senate, and Republican and Democrat.
Tours of the exhibit floor were scheduled throughout the day, in addition to a couple of specialty lunches featuring some high-profile members, including a CablePAC lunch Tuesday (closed to press) with House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and ranking member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).
Eshoo said late last week she would "give up a day at home" -- she represents Silicon Valley --and fly back to the Capital to attend the Cable Show.
"I haven't been for a while," she told an audience for C-SPAN's Communicators series in an interview. "It is an important industry in our country and as ranking member I think it is important that I be there. These shows are really very exciting too in showing off the innovation they are so proud of."
The FCC was well represented as well, with top commissioner aides, bureau chiefs, attorneys and other staffers. Alex Hoehn-Saric, policy director for commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, credited the foresight of NCTA to hold its convention in Washington in the midst of sequestration. He said the FCC had not had a big presence at some other recent conventions as travel budgets have been cut back.
Next year’s convention will be in Los Angeles, April 29-May 1.