Organizers expect showbiz attendance in 2008

Last year’s much-ballyhooed Telecom Next trade show in Las Vegas was supposed to signal the telecom industry’s commitment to a partnership with Hollywood. So why isn’t it happening this year?

Telecom Next was one of a pair of competing events that emerged when the two trade orgs that sponsored Supercomm, the giant telecom industry tradeshow, parted ways. Telecom Next didn’t attract the hoped-for attendance and in the interim the two orgs have kissed and made up. NXTcomm is the new mega-show for the telecom industry.

For 2007, NXTcomm is in Chicago, hard on the heels of a major Digital Hollywood conference in Santa Monica. As a result, few Hollywood heavyweights are slated to participate at NXTcomm. Next year, however, the big show moves to Las Vegas and organizers are banking on attracting more showbiz attendance.

The entertainment industry may not be out in force at McCormick Place, but the telcos’ entry into content delivery continues unabated. Verizon’s FiOS and AT&T’s U-Verse, which offer IPTV services, are rolling out, though not as fast as originally planned. Mobile TV is also carving out a beachhead, with Verizon and AT&T both getting into the space. Apple’s iPhone, probably the most media-centric mobile phone ever sold, should increase interest in mobile video, but its capabilities remain a bit of a mystery pending its June 29 debut.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more