Atlantic Cable Partners said next week's East Coast Cable 2000 show in Baltimore is forecast to attract more than 5,000 attendees.
Its 170 exhibiting companies include 33 first-time exhibitors at the show, such as Commerce.TV, HITS2Home and National Home Connections.
The conference, which runs Sept. 12 through 14, marks the show's 20th anniversary.
Preregistration numbers were ahead of last year's, Pennsylvania Cable & Telecommunications Association president Bill Cologie said last week. He added that the group extended its marketing efforts for the show "to just about everywhere east of the Mississippi" River, rather than just the five East Coast states represented in the partnership.
The East Coast Cable show had reached a critical crossroads over the past year, at which the sponsors had to decide whether "to fold the show or grow the show," Cologie said.
To help grow the show, Atlantic Cable Partners hired Washington, D.C.-based Dobson & Associates Ltd. to take over the show's management. "[Dobson has] wider industry contacts" than the previous management agent, New Jersey-based Slack Inc., which primarily serves the medical industry, Cologie said.
Dobson also manages the National Show for the National Cable Television Association and the Western Show for the California Cable Television Association.
Top attractions include an opening general session Tuesday morning with Comcast Corp. vice chairman Julian Brodsky, Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Chuck Dolan and Bresnan Communications president Bill Bresnan.
On Wednesday, Comcast Cable Communications Inc. president Steve Burke will receive the "Bill Daniels Operator of the Year" award from Cablevision magazine.
East Coast Cable 2000 is repeating one of last year's successful promotions, which offers free admission to any MSO employees beyond the first 25 registered by the company. AT & T Broadband, Comcast and Adelphia Communications Corp. have already signed up for the offer, Cologie said.
While some industry observers have questioned the need for regional shows, Cologie said he believes there's a place for the East Coast Cable show, adding that most attendees don't go to the larger national shows.
"Exhibitors say they do a lot more business at the regional shows," he said. "They're seeing the people they need to see."
The show-which shifted to Baltimore from Atlantic City, N.J., a few years ago-will be in Baltimore again next year before returning to the boardwalk in 2002, officials said.
In addition to Pennsylvania, state cable associations for New York, New Jersey and Maryland/ Delaware/District of Columbia are members of Atlantic Cable Partners.
Those interested can visit www.eastcoastcable.com for more information.