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CEA Previews CES With Several Surprises

New York – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) held its annual Press Preview for the 2007 International CES here last night that was stocked with surprises about the show and future CEA plans.

Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS, will be a CES keynote speaker on Jan. 9 at 4:30 pm, said Karen Chupka, CEA’s senior VP of events and conferences, who noted that at 4 pm yesterday, less than a half hour before the press conference began, Moonves agreed to speak.

When asked about the significance of Moonves being a CES keynoter, along with fellow media mogul Robert Iger, president/CEO of the Walt Disney Co., Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA, noted, “CES is a large tent and we have encouraged members of related industries like broadcasting, cable and content [providers] to come to the show and see where technology is going, so they can understand and embrace it.”

Moonves took the keynote slot originally assigned to Tom Freston, former CEO of Viacom, who signed on as a keynoter this summer before he departed his post at Viacom.

In passing, Shapiro said he will do a one-on-one interview with FCC chairman Kevin Martin at CES, similar to past shows when he went one-on-one with former FCC chairman Michael Powell. No mention of time, date or location was made.

Chupka and Shapiro reiterated what they said during the CEA Industry Forum press event last month, (Please see CEA Gives CES Details, Nixes Gaming Show) concerning CES attendance. While the 2006 event had 152,000 in attendance CEA is saying that it is looking at an official attendance of 140,000 for this year’s show. The estimated 2,700 exhibitors are expected to use more than 1.7 million square feet of space.

The reason for projecting lower attendance is “fewer hotel rooms in Las Vegas,” according to Shapiro, due to the closure of some older hotels for new construction. Chupka and Shapiro said CEA is also looking at advance registration from Nevada and California to limit the number of consumers attending the show. “While it is the ‘Consumer Electronics Show’ this is a trade-only event,” they said.

As part of the annual Press Preview CEA also held CES Unveiled, which featured booths from 45 companies, many which will exhibit at CES and have won a 2007 Innovations Award. For a complete list of the honorees please see 2007 Best Of Innovations Honorees.

Outside of CES news, CEA announced a partnership with rock artists 3 Doors Down to promote the virtues of quality audio formats and equipment. The “Great Audio Experience” campaign will educate consumers on the various price and performance options available and encourage them to seek demonstrations of high-quality audio equipment from their local retailers.

“According to our latest research, 56 percent of potential buyers say they’ve never heard what they’d consider to be quality audio,” said Shapiro. “As portable digital audio has taken off, we’ve seen consumers rush to build massive libraries of MP3 and other low-resolution audio files. While that may offer convenience, the quality of the audio experience is greatly diminished.”

“No one knows better how music should sound than the artists who created it,” continued Shapiro. “That’s why we’re so excited to be working with 3 Doors Down on this campaign. They’re passionate about this project and we look forward to working with them to deliver the message of great audio to a whole new audience.”

A 12-time platinum band, 3 Doors Down members Brad Arnold and Matt Roberts attended the event. Roberts said, “When we’re in the studio, we can spend hours on a single sound, a single element of a song that gets completely lost on an MP3 player. We want our audience to be able to hear that, and to experience it the way that we intended it in the studio. Great audio equipment can help fans and music lovers everywhere to hear music like they never have before.”

As a part of the campaign, CEA has also re-launched its consumer website