The Society of Cable & Telecommunications Engineers has sold more than 95% of the 109,200 square feet of exhibition space for next month's Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta, and president and CEO Mark Dzuban said the fact that the confab will occur independently of other industry events will help drive attendance.
Through the end of September, SCTE had booked 346 exhibitors for the show, set to run Nov. 15-17 at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center. Last year's Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans had 380 exhibiting companies and organizations.
So far, attendee registrations are in line with 2010 levels, Dzuban said, noting that most signups come in the four weeks leading up to the conference.
The 2010 Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans drew about 8,200 attendees, down from 9,000 in 2009 and well off the 11,000 peak in 2008. Last year SCTE cited "continued attention to travel resources and other industry and economic factors" for the lower attendance levels in the Big Easy.
The two previous Cable-Tec Expos were co-located with the CTAM Summit conference, as part of the cable industry's experiment with weeklong spring and fall event clusters.
This year, "we're on our own," Dzuban noted, and he expects that to provide a lift in attendance.
In 2012, Cable-Tec Expo will once more occur in tandem with CTAM Summit in Orlando, Fla., then it's scheduled to be separate in 2013 in New Orleans and in 2014 in Denver. Dzuban added that when the conference takes place in the Mile High City it won't be "during snow season" -- a reference to the blizzard two years ago that disrupted travel plans for Expo and CTAM Summit attendees.
"We've worked with the NCTA and the community" on event scheduling, Dzuban said. "We're so big, I make it clear to them -- the venues that are satisfactory to them aren't necessarily satisfactory to us. SCTE needs to be positioned so we're not limited."
One big focus for the 2011 show was to increase the amount of educational programming. This year's Cable-Tec Expo features 40 sessions, up from 15 last year. "SCTE has to be a problem solver... presenting technological solutions to the industry on how we operate better and smarter," Dzuban said.
In addition, SCTE is staging a one-day Capacity Management Symposium along with select workshops on Monday, Nov. 14, prior the start of Cable-Tec Expo.
SCTE also has collaborated more closely with MSO executives, and Dzuban gave a shout-out to the efforts of this year's conference chairman, Suddenlink Communications chief technology officer Terry Cordova.
Cable-Tec Expo's Green Pavilion also is "maturing," Dzuban said, with 16 exhibitors this year (up from 12 last year). The 2011 conference will feature a Next Generation Video Architecture pavilion, showing the last-mile of how cable TV is delivered, with tours to be hosted by senior MSO executives, he added.
The show's international flavor also will be enhanced in Atlanta, with 57 non-U.S. exhibitors already booked, compared with 47 last year.
Dzuban pointed out a hidden code in the Cable-Tec Expo '11 logo: It includes a line graph that spells out "SCTE" in Morse code. "We're giving out decoder rings this year," he said with a chuckle.