Western Attendance Could Fall 30%

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What a difference a year makes: Last year, the Western Show was in Los
Angeles, and it boasted record attendance of 31,000.

This year, in Anaheim, Calif., most programmers will be show-floor no-shows,
and cable operators were given price breaks as incentives to attend.

Show planners created a new 'participant' category that enticed back some
programmers, most recently ABC Cable Networks Group.

And even the show's organizer, the California Cable Television Association,
will be different -- on Wednesday, it will change its name to the California
Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The CCTA reported a 'last-minute flurry' of bookings for the show, set for
Tuesday through Friday, but attendance may still be down 30 percent compared
with last year, which would put it below 22,000.

Given all of the changes, exhibitors said they're 'cautiously optimistic'
about their ability to meet with decision-makers at the show.

The dearth of programmers on the floor might be a good thing for technology
companies, they added, because the amount of distracting 'white noise' will be
cut down.

Also, because the fall-off in exhibitors forced the show to shrink to three
halls in the upgraded Anaheim Convention Center, some companies said they
received better floor locations.

The show floor will host 250 technology companies, 100 of which are new to
the trade meeting.

The association was able to attract seven cable-operator CEOs, including the
new chiefs of AT&T Broadband, Charter Communications Inc. and Time Warner
Cable.

The association has made its best effort to create a productive show for
attendees despite the fact the decrease in attendance has left the trade group
'in a world of hurt,' officials said.

The revenue shortfall forced the association to let go seven of its 30 staff
members.

'We've made hard choices, as well,' CCTA vice president C.J. Hirschfield
said.

And next year? 'It's a different world on so many levels,' she said. 'My
team's been through a lot, and there are tough questions to be asked about the
Western Show and our ability to lobby.'

The CCTA board will hold a retreat in January to discuss the
future.

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