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Quality Attendees, Not Just Numbers, Is CEA’s CES Goal

San Francisco — Quality, not quantity, will be the guide during the 2005 International CES, with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the show’s organizer, doing its best to make sure the show is not overrun with consumers like the now-departed Fall Comdex show.

Karen Chupka, events and conferences VP for CES, and Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA, both addressed this issue and other show news during a press conference yesterday at the CEA Fall Forum, held at the Fairmont Hotel, here.

Chupka said that CEA will “qualify people before the show,” with special interest being given to people who register from Nevada and neighboring states. Both Chupka and Shapiro noted that since Comdex is not being held this year, many of the “enthusiasts” that flooded that show, making it impossible for trade people and exhibitors to effectively do business, may try to do the same thing at this year’s CES.

“We want to make sure that CES attendees have a legitimate business interest,” Shapiro noted, which would include IT, an area that has become a bigger factor at the show in recent years.

Chupka and Shapiro did not want to provide estimates on 2005 CES attendance; they hope it will be about the same as this year, or around 132,000. “While the additional 30,000 attendees at CES” has been welcome over the past year, “if our attendance goes to 100,000, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the quality of the people that come.”

That quality is reflected in the expanded keynoter and “Industry Insider” speakers, with two new ones being added to the lineup. Rich Templeton, president/CEO of Texas Instruments, will be a keynote speaker on Friday, Jan. 7 at 3:30 pm at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater, and Judy McGrath, chairman/CEO of MTV Networks, will deliver an “Industry Insider” presentation at room N250 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday, Jan. 6 at 2:30 pm.

These two executives join Microsoft’s Bill Gates; Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett; Ed Zander, chairman/CEO of Motorola; Carly Fiorina, chariman/CEO of HP; Mike Ramsey, chairman/CEO of TiVo; as well as CEA’s Shapiro, as featured speakers during the 2005 show.

There will also be “huge international growth” at the January show, due to a concerted effort by CEA to “recruit quality attendees from overseas,” and attracting international industry leaders to CES. “Also, due to the weak dollar, coming to the U.S. is a bargain for many, so that has helped us too,” Shapiro noted.

And the show will feature plenty of “TechZones,” which are display areas for upcoming technology where attendees can learn about these new products and see what suppliers are offering. Among the product categories that will have TechZones at the show are accessories, wireless and telephony, audio, flash memory, video, digital imaging and several others.