CTIA Wrap: AT&T Steals Thunder, Proving Peril of Launching News at Shows

I just wrapped up attendance at the CTIA show in Orlando. It was two action-packed days, filled with client, media and analyst meetings.

CTIA is one of the few mega tech shows left., and it was great to walk the show floor and experience the energy and excitement. The sheer size of the Orange County Convention Center and number of exhibitors meant lots of walking and made it a challenge to get to everything on my list.

As I walked into the show on Tuesday, I was amazed to see a space carved out in the middle for CNBC, with lights, cameras and Jim Cramer blaring.  He and his panel were of course focused on the big news: the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile (see below for more on this).

In my conversations, comparisons were inevitably made with CTIA shows past. One exhibitor crassly noted the "booth babe index" (actually, he used a cruder term, but I will spare you) as evidence that the show is back, after a couple of down years.

The show also proved the dangers of holding on to big news for release at an event like CTIA.  We know it is tempting, because the world is watching, and there is more press coverage focused on the industry at these times.

Yet shows are the opposite of a slow news day. so there is more competition for the headline and readers. And, as big and impressive as your news is, there is always much larger news that can come along and eclipse it.

As was reported in yesterday's Wall Street Journal article Sprint CEO Blasts AT&T Deal:

AT&T's surprise deal forced attendees across the conference to compete for attention. Samsung Electronics Co., for example, picked the CTIA conference to launch two new tablet computers.


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