Cable Show's Still Big in Texas

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As other cable-industry trade shows retool or are cancelled outright— such as this year's Eastern Show — the Texas Show will mosey along with just a 10 percent dip in pre-registration from last year.

Through early last week, 900 attendees had pre-registered for the convention, slated for Feb. 27 to March 1 at the San Antonio Convention Center, said Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association president Bill Arnold.

That relatively small falloff for "Version 42.0" of the show comes despite the fact that Cox Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable have both scheduled conflicting regional meetings elsewhere in the state, he said.

Arnold, who will preside over his last Texas Show, acknowledged that there is likely to be a dearth of Time Warner public relations and marketing officials at the meeting, as those groups are slated for corporate gatherings. And while Cox general managers are meeting elsewhere, a number of Texas Show devotees have notified Arnold they may join the trade event by Thursday.

Seven of the association's 17 executives and directors come from Cox or Time Warner.

The show also traditionally draws attendees from Classic Cable and Galaxy Cablevision LP, both of which are unlikely to send executives because of financial troubles.

Nonetheless, Arnold believes the event will add even more registrants once underway.

"We normally have 20 to 25 percent on-site registration. If that holds, we'll do pretty well," he said.

The Texas association is less reliant on the show for its financial health than some other state associations. The trade meeting accounts for 40 percent of the lobbying group's annual operating budget.

The state-only show has also retained something many bigger events have lost: support from programmers. Home Box Office, AMC Networks, USA Networks, QVC, Turner Broadcasting System Inc., Wisdom Television and Outdoor Life Network are among its major network sponsors.

Most of the session topics will be standard: state politics, bridging the digital divide, new interactive products and the tough economy.

The association confirmed late last week that Amanda Batson would succeed Arnold as president.

The industry outsider is currently the chief staff officer for the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented, an advocacy organization which works with state education department to develop programs for advanced students.

The cable association expects Batson will come to the trade show but will not assume her new office until March 15.

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