The new Cable Show; it's not the same as the old Cable Show.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) announced it is rebranding its annual Cable Show conference as INTX, the Internet and Television Expo. Starting in 2015, INTX will open its doors not only to cable companies and vendors, but to the broader digital media and technology community as well. According to the press release, INTX will feature "multichannel video and broadband Internet providers, television creators and producers, online video distributors, digital technologists and startups, engineers and more."
An NCTA spokesperson confirmed that telecom and satellite service providers are being invited to the party next spring. This means that for the first time at this event, staffers from the likes of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) could be freely mingling alongside their rivals from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC).
The change in name and format for the NCTA's conference comes after attendance dropped in 2014 to "10,000-plus" participants in Los Angeles last spring, a new low. Between 2010 and 2013, attendance hovered in the range of 12,000 to 13,000 visitors per year. Back in the show's pre-9/11 heyday, it drew crowds as large as 30,000 or more no matter where the show was held.
The show's rebranding is also happening as major market shifts are upending the traditional order of the pay-TV and broadband industries. Cable companies now find themselves competing with online giants such as Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), while also venturing into new territories like wireless networking and home automation. There is more crossover than ever between cable, telecom and satellite services, and even the technologies are converging as more and more applications are being delivered over IP.
According to the NCTA, the new INTX exhibit floor will include special themed sections for TV Everywhere, the Internet of Things and a Gadget Lab, as well as pavilions for both streaming and gaming technology. There will also be showcases for digital content, a focus on startup companies and on-site competitions. Suddenlink Communications Chairman and CEO Jerry Kent, and Radio One and TV One CEO and President Alfred Liggins will co-chair the inaugural INTX conference in Chicago in early May.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading