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SCTE Expects Cable-Tec Expo '09 Turnout To Be Lower

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers isn't disclosing how many attendees it expects at Cable-Tec Expo later this month in Denver, though it anticipates a drop from the 11,000 record in 2008 and the number of exhibitors this year is down about 9%.

SCTE is anticipating "some decline in attendance given the move to the fall from its normal June time frame and the economic conditions in which we have all operated," according to Deb Swann, SCTE's vice president of marketing and business development.

This year's show, to run Oct. 28-30, has been grouped together in a weeklong series of events as part of "Cable Connection Fall." The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing has said it hopes to draw at least 1,600 attendees to the CTAM Summit in Denver Oct. 25-27, a total that represent a 25% drop versus last year's event in Boston.

Cable-Tec Expo '08 in Philadelphia drew 11,000 attendees -- the most in the history of the show, now in its 27th year -- up 3% from 10,700 in Orlando, the year prior. The 2006 show in Denver had 10,100 attendees.

As of Thursday, the number of exhibitors for Cable-Tec Expo '09 was down roughly 9% from 2008. The organization's Web site currently lists 375 exhibitors for 2009 compared with 411 for the 2008 confab, which sold out 138,000 square feet of exhibition space in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

For the first time, SCTE offered a 4% "early bird" discount for Cable-Tec Expo from February to May 1. Swann said that drove up registrations much earlier than in years past. Since then, she added, registrations have increased slowly but steadily with a considerable jump after Labor Day.

"With the significant changes that have taken place in 2009, however, it is difficult to project final attendance," she said, noting preregistration rates for this year's Expo end Oct. 16 and there are "a reasonable number of on-site registrations." SCTE plans to release final attendance numbers when the show closes on Friday, Oct. 30.

Alan Hoff, vice president of product marketing at SeaChange International, said he thought Denver was a good setting given that several recent industry events have been held in Boston (CTAM Summit '08), Washington, D.C. (NCTA's Cable Show '09) and Philadelphia (last year's Cable-Tec Expo). "We run the risk of having a very East Coast-centric approach if we're not careful," he said.

As far as attendance, Hoff said, "I think all bets are off given the state of the economy -- regardless of whether that's in Denver or anywhere else, or what time of year it is." In the last few weeks, Hoff added, he's heard from several senior technology executives at cable operators who have just received approval to attend Cable-Tec Expo.

In May 1983, SCTE staged the first "Expo" in Dallas, an event that attracted 700 attendees and 118 exhibitors.