Greater Efficiency, Continued Support

Did you know that cable and telecommunications industry-related conventions, conferences, events, meetings, or fundraisers, can be attended almost 50 of the 52 weeks of the year? Participating in these events takes up a significant part of the work lives for those of us who know that our support is intrinsic to our jobs, good for our careers and helpful to the industry overall.

But it’s a never-ending challenge to balance that support with the demands placed on us by our companies and customers. So it was no great surprise when the National Cable & Telecommunications Association board asked us to take a hard look at realigning the extensive set of nationally-attended meetings over which the industry had some degree of control. The goal: to improve efficiency, while enabling continued support for the significant work done by these organizations.

Extensive and very collaborative discussions over five months among the heads of industry associations and societies, along with valuable input from many CEOs, have paid off. With some outside-the-box thinking about how and when to stage their events, those leaders have forged a consensus with the NCTA board on a radically new way of organizing the industry calendar.

Starting in 2009, two weeks of each year — one in spring, the other in fall — will become cable destinations, with the bulk of our national events scheduled in parallel and sequential fashion.

“Cable Connection — Spring” will bring together NCTA’s The Cable Show, CableLabs’ Conference, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ Emerging Technologies Conference, CAB’s Annual Conference, Women In Cable Telecommunications’ Leadership Conference and Annual Gala, NAMIC’s Awards Breakfast, Cable Positive’s Power Awards Dinner, and the Cable Pioneers Dinner. “Cable Connection — Fall” will be home to the CTAM Summit and Research Conference, SCTE’s CableTec Expo, NAMIC’s Annual Conference, the ACC Forum, CableLabs’ Conference, and the annual dinners of the Kaitz Foundation and The Cable Center.

Net revenue from these events are a substantial part of the budgets of the various associations and societies involved. The NCTA board recognizes this baseline premise and, understanding that there may be revenue shortfalls stemming from the realignment, has committed to covering the shortfall for 2009 and 2010. This valuable buffer enables our organizations to chart new revenue strategies for 2011 and beyond. And by relieving some of the immense pressure on fundraising, it may enable some groups to better focus on their primary objectives.

NCTA board members also have committed their companies’ continued support and personal participation during the two weeks.

If you’re reading these words, chances are you are one of the people drawn to our industry in part because it’s so wonderfully collaborative. Our industry organizations and their fine events are part of the fabric of our careers. This new realignment effort strengthens that fabric by helping make our collaboration more efficient, relieving some of the stress caused by frequent work interruption, and enriching our industry conferences and events with the potential for broader participation and greater diversity. On behalf of our industry, we will work to ensure its success for all of us.