Cable Show 2011: Attendance, If Not Exhibitors, Tracking Toward LA Tally

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With two weeks to go before cable operators blow into the Windy City for the Cable Show (June 14-16), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association indicates fewer companies will be exhibiting this time around.

But the Obama political family reunion is coming along nicely.

At press time, the exhibitor tally was 263, taking up a total of 128,400 feet of space. That's down from 354 exhibitors building a mini-tech city on about 200,000 square feet in 2010 in Los Angeles, though NCTA noted that included the "massive" My World showcase that's not on the agenda this time.

While "My World" has come to an end (insert doomsday prediction here), NCTA has lined up 30 companies to populate "The Park," this year's take on a showcase and the convention's version of Grant Park. They'll be given a platform - a fully functioning amphitheater - in a park-like setting in the center of the exhibit floor to announce news and new products. Companies parking themselves in The Park include major MSOs, Cisco, Scripps Networks, Intel, HBO, Showtime, Arris, Motorola and Vivid Logic. An industry committee picked the 30 temporary residents among applicants.

Attendance figures were not provided, but the NCTA said signups were tracking with the 13,300 that came to the Los Angeles version.

As for the favorite-son factor, new mayor and former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel will welcome delegates at opening general session. And David Axelrod, former senior strategist for the president, will be on hand to talk about cable and elections.

The Sportsman Channel will be around per usual, dishing out meals at three missions in the Chicago area as part of its Hunt.Fish.Feed initiative in conjunction with Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable. The Battle of the Bands fundraiser has been shelved, though not, as The Wire suspected, because of concerns related to Cox Communications-backed Xpanded Bandwidth's three-year dominance. It's more a question of cost vs. sponsorship revenue return, sources indicated.

Fortunately, the National League baseball team has home games that week. Several network groups have planned parties in and around the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, where it's root, root, root for the Cubbies ...

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.