Numbers Are Up for NCTA

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National Cable & Telecommunications Association officials said the cable industry's National Show next month in New Orleans is on track for respectable growth over 2003.

As of Thursday, exhibitor-requested floor space was at 165,000 square feet, 25% more than the total for last year's convention in Chicago. "We are pleasantly surprised by this year's numbers," said Barbara York, industry affairs chief for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Pre-registration is slightly above this time last year. If the uptick holds, it would reverse steady declines of the last few years brought on by corporate travel cutbacks in the wake of consolidation and the 2001 terrorist attacks.

NCTA officials are jazzed about two anchor exhibits that will dominate opposite ends of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. One is a model home built with a half-million-dollar budget displaying today's latest in high-speed Internet gadgets for the broadband-connected home. The other is a CableLabs-sponsored display where more than two dozen companies will show off interactive products that will be rolled out in the not-so-distant future.

So far, 74 first-time exhibitors have signed up, including 19 programmers. The new exhibitors include Tivo, Dolby Labs, World Wrestling Entertainment, The Tennis Channel, Anime Networks, and Hustler TV.

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