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Powell Kills the Cable Show

Mari Silbey
9/29/2016

Oh Cable Show, we knew you well.

But now the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and President Michael Powell have killed you dead.

Why would they do this? Could it be because your attendance numbers have been in freefall for years? Or because there are only two US cable operators left? Or is it because Arris bought up all the sponsors that used to buy up all your booth space?

I can only dream of the glory days. Those nights in New Orleans, and in LA when I and 12 of my closest cable friends walked through the VIP ropes to lean on the stage at a free, cable-only Maroon 5 concert. Those were the days!

Why would you take that away from us?

Maroon 5 at The Cable Show 2010! I didn't make this up!
Maroon 5 at The Cable Show 2010! I didn't make this up!

Maybe you're planning to re-launch the show under a new name? Forget INTX, I've pooled some important cable insiders and we've come up with alternatives. How about IoT World Congress? Or OTT OF THE WORLD?

Or we could go old school. Is anyone using Supercomm anymore? How about The Western Show: East Coast Edition?

Since you scheduled the 2017 show for the same dates as NAB, why not just pretend you already merged the two events? It's a totally plausible move. All the same people were already going to NAB anyway!

No?

Okay. Well, as you go through with your decommissioning plans, I feel I have a responsibility to explain the consequential weight of that decision. The session content at INTX/The Cable Show was stellar this year. And despite the decline in numbers, it was still an unmissable event for anyone serious about cable.

Yes, cable is changing. Convergence is happening. But there are still an awful lot of people supporting the cable businesses that bring TV and broadband to consumer households. There's still an awful lot of work to be done on the road to cable convergence nirvana. And there's still an awful lot of money to be made.

So whatever comes next, let's make it a good thing, okay? I like the idea of "conversation, dialog, and more intimate opportunities to explore and interact with technology." But let's also not give up on the idea of bringing the cable community together in one place. Colocation with another event could be a good strategy, along with other more intimate affairs.

And listen, if you're looking for a location vote, I'm still partial to New Orleans.

Just saying.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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kq4ym
kq4ym
10/8/2016 | 2:26:41 PM
Re: Consolidation
The consolidation in the industry does seem to be a big factor in the situation. As more specialized conferences attract more vendors and attendees that's probably the way things will move over the coming years.
Kevin Mitchell
Kevin Mitchell
9/30/2016 | 9:59:40 AM
Still a ton of shows!
I'm good with this...I don't have the nostalgic ties to it, even as I've been to a few iterations of the show. 

I believe smaller, specialized shows are better. And the mash-up of content/programming with core network technology was not as strong as a pure programming show and a pure tech show. 

The Cable industry has a ton of events: SCTE regional chapter vendor days, Light Reading events, the NCTC winter and summer shows and the bigger confabs like NAB and SCTE Expo (and many more). I'm ok with a shorter list!
catawalker
catawalker
9/29/2016 | 3:20:23 PM
Farewell INTX/The Cable Show/NCTA/The National Show!
First the Western Show and now this?? An understandable decision, but still very sad for this cable vet. My first time at this event was in 1994 in New Orleans -- the heyday! I agree that an annual gathering is still important. I look forward to to hearing what the next iteration will be.
KBode
KBode
9/29/2016 | 2:48:48 PM
Re: Consolidation
Did they include IOT and hardware vendors? Seems like there could have been ways to boost interest. 
msilbey
msilbey
9/29/2016 | 2:32:01 PM
Re: Consolidation
You could feel the attendance drop. The show was beginning to look like a ghost town.
KBode
KBode
9/29/2016 | 1:30:25 PM
Consolidation
I have to imagine your exhibits start to get a little stale after consolidation leaves you with fewer and fewer actual cable companies. Makes you wonder just how bad attendee totals had slipped. 
Presiden21652
Presiden21652
9/29/2016 | 12:22:57 PM
Loved that M5 show
Mari -

That was my last show as an NCTA employee. Not just a private M5 show, but a private M5 show BEFORE they dropped the new album and went on tour for it. Good memories.
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