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Cable/Video

What's in a Cable Name?

Is nothing sacred anymore?

In a little-noted missive recently, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) announced that it's changing the name of The National Show, the cable industry's biggest annual convention, after 55 years. From now on, the association proclaimed, the spring confab will officially be known as The Cable Show .

NCTA says the radical move, which comes three years after the demise of the once-popular Western Show that ran in the fall, is part of the group's "rebranding effort" launched earlier in the year. It argues that the new name "better defines the conference and should broaden its appeal as the industry expands into new areas of the telecommunications sector."

Yes, and it took 55 years to figure that out? You must ask: will changing the industry's most venerable conference to The Cable Show somehow make it easier for convention organizers to attract such non-cable types as phone companies, cellular providers, IPTV developers, business services suppliers, and other telecom players? How exactly will that work? Won't the new name make it even less likely that they would come?

Following the NCTA's logic, why not change the name of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association itself? Just drop that silly "telecommunications" that was added several years ago and go back to the old National Cable Television Association. That should help bring in those non-cable types, too.

By the way, the last time a major cable trade conference changed its name to broaden its appeal, it turned out to be the death knell for that show. The Western Show's California organizers tried switching the name of that conference to "BroadbandPlus" in December 2002. Then they ended up ditching the entire conference just a year later.

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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