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SCTE mulls moving Cable-Tec Expo back to spring

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 12:15pm
Mike Robuck

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers' flagship event, SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, could be on the move again, as the organization is in the initial planning stages on whether to move the conference from fall back to spring by 2015.

According to cable industry sources, Time Warner Cable and Comcast are behind the push to move Cable-Tec Expo back to its traditional May-June timeframe. While nothing is set in stone, the SCTE is checking out its options as part of its planning cycle for events. Next year, Cable-Tec Expo is slated for New Orleans, with Denver rumored to be on board in 2014.

One of the main objectives of potentially moving Cable-Tec Expo back into a late spring timeframe is to align the conference with the budgeting cycles of the cable operators. With Cable-Tec Expo occurring near the end of the year – last year it was in Atlanta in November, and this year it’s slated for October in Orlando – cable operators were at the end of their budgets.

With the pace of innovation picking up, pushing Expo back to spring would give cable operators more operational time to plan for or install new equipment and services before their budgets are tapped out.

If the SCTE does decide to move forward with shifting Expo, it will need to keep space between its event and the NCTA’s Cable Show, as well as international conferences such the Anga Cable show, in order to make it work for vendors.

"We have a great relationship with Michael Powell and NCTA and are working closely with them as part of our normal, long-term planning cycle for SCTE Cable-Tec Expo,” a spokesperson from the SCTE wrote in an email this morning to CED.

As of 2009, cable industry events were broken into spring and fall weeks after the National Cable & Telecommunications Association spearheaded an initiative, through its Cable Organization Review Committee, to consolidate cable industry events. The twice-yearly cable industry events were branded under the “Cable Connection” name.

A spokesman for the NCTA said the organization declined to comment on Expo potentially moving to a different timeframe in 2015, and he also said that there currently isn’t a Cable Organization Review Committee in place.

While the consolidation seemed to make sense on paper, fissures started to appear in the plan after some organizations felt their events were getting lost in the shuffle once the Cable Connection shift took place. Last year, the CTAM Summit was held in New York City as part of Diversity Week with the NAMIC and WICT conferences, but this year, the CTAM Summit will be on Oct. 14-16 in Orlando ahead of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, which is set for Oct. 17-19, although the events will be held at different locations.

During the NCTA’s consolidation effort, consideration was given to a wide range of organizations, including NAMIC, WICT, CTAM, the Walter Kaitz Foundation, the Cable Center Hall of Fame Dinner and the ACC Forum. As part of the consolidation agreement, the SCTE also dropped its Emerging Technologies Conference, which was typically held in January.

Under current SCTE President and CEO Mark Dzuban, the SCTE has reinvented itself as more of an engineering- and technology-driven organization, which may not align with some of the other organizations that were included under the Cable Connection umbrella.

If the Cable-Tec Expo move goes forward in 2015, there will be a large gap of events during the last half of the year for the cable industry, although vendors will still have conferences and shows in other industries, such as TelcoTV.

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