NCTA's 'Suite' Plan for Exhibitors


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association is offering
'executive suites' directly on the convention floor of next year's National Show
in New Orleans as an incentive for exhibitors.

The suites -- with reception space, furnished conference rooms, 12-seat
screening rooms and customized signage -- would keep more people at the Ernest
N. Morial Convention Center and away from off-site hotels, NCTA senior vice
president of industry affairs Barbara York said Wednesday.

York said the suites' rental rates haven't been set yet, but they will be
'significantly less expensive than hotel suites.'

'It started with looking at the industry and realizing that the traditional
model of the exhibit floor did not meet the needs of many of our members,' York
said. 'For fully penetrated and fully established networks on every cable
system, doing a booth is more of an affiliate-relations networking effort, and
that is a very expensive way of saying, `Hi, I'm here -- thanks for your

Cable-operator consolidation, ad-sales declines and corporate-travel cutbacks
have helped to depress trade-show attendance. NCTA officials said about 7,000
fewer people attended this year's National Show in Chicago than the previous

The upcoming Western Show in Anaheim, Calif., has lost most of the usual
roster of big programming exhibitors, although technology vendors have stepped
in to fill openings. Last week, the California Cable Television Association said
the show would be held in three halls rather than four because there won't be as
many giant booths.

York also said the NCTA is working on plans to host general sessions on the
exhibitor floor.