The Atlantic Cable Show expects attendance at its East
Coast Cable '99 trade show -- which runs next Tuesday through Thursday (Oct. 12 through
14) at the Baltimore Convention Center -- to be up compared with previous years, despite
trends toward industry consolidation.
Early last week, preregistered attendance had already
topped 1,700, according to New Jersey Cable Telecommunications Association president Karen
D. Alexander, spokeswoman for East Coast Cable '99.
Alexander credited an educational program geared toward the
interests of system general managers and new MSO pricing discounts with boosting early
Top-drawer speakers -- such as AT&T Broadband &
Internet Services president Leo J. Hindery Jr., who will give the keynote address next
Wednesday morning -- have also helped to draw a wider pool of attendees.
Under the special MSO pricing, operators that pay for 25
employees can send additional attendees at no extra cost.
Seth Morrison, senior vice president of marketing for the
Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, said the price breaks could help
to drive attendance for budget-conscious operators.
Because the Baltimore venue is conveniently located for
many East Coast systems, Morrison added, system-level employees can make day trips to the
show if operators don't want to incur the expense of additional hotel rooms.
"The fact that every MSO in the region has taken
advantage of this [special pricing offer] is a ringing endorsement," he said.
The show returns to Baltimore for the next two years, after
which it is set to move to its one-time home of Atlantic City, N.J., in 2002. Alexander
said that although the organization is negotiating for hotel and convention space in
Atlantic City beyond 2002, the show could move again to other East Coast locations if its
scope continues to grow.
Alexander confirmed that the Atlantic Show was still
interested in a possible merger with the Eastern Show, although the two organizations are
not currently in talks.
In prior years, the two shows had been timed so closely
that operators and exhibitors expressed schedule conflicts. No Eastern Show was held this
year, and its 2000 show will be held in the spring instead of the fall.
"The industry is going to have to make some tough
choices" concerning the number of regional trade shows it can support, Morrison said.
"Consolidation is a fact of life."
Regional shows fill a need for executives at the system
level who don't always make it to the larger, national shows, Morrison added.
CTAM helped the Atlantic Cable Show's board of directors to
develop the educational program for East Coast Cable '99, which includes a focus on new
technologies such as digital cable and high-speed Internet access, especially as the
issues affect GMs at the system level. CTAM is also producing four of the education
panels, including one on recruiting and retaining employees.
Panelists at the various seminars include top industry
executives such as Comcast Cable Communications president Stephen Burke and Charter
Communications chairman Barry Babcock, as well as GMs from several top East Coast systems,
including Time Warner Cable of New York's Barbara Kelly and District Cablevision's Brad
Alexander said that because of the region's Washington,
D.C.-area membership and a few fairly active state capitals, the show also includes a
focus on governmental issues.
Exhibitors will help to sponsor a Baltimore Bash next
Wednesday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Camden Yards.
The NJCTA is one of four regional trade associations that
sponsor the Atlantic Cable Show, along with the Cable Television and Telecommunications
Association of New York Inc., the Cable Telecommunications Association of
Maryland/Delaware/District of Columbia and the Pennsylvania Cable Telecommunications