By Leah Hochbaum

Seminars on digital television, hardware and software distributor exhibitions, and an industry-wide awards gala have characterized the Jornadas since its inception. And this year’s 16th annual edition of Latin America’s premier trade show, to be held October 31-November 2, at the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center, promises to give attendees more of the what they’ve come to expect from the event.

Jornadas, the international cable “days,” is, as usual, organized by the Asociación Argentina de Televisión Por Cable (ATVC) a.k.a. Argentine Cable Television Association. The event gathers cable operators from Argentina and other Latin American countries, as well as worldwide industry leaders, educators, regulators, public officials and vendors, thus making it the Southern Cone’s major TV industry event.

Cumulatively, during the course of the three-Jornadas show, some 3,000 visitors are expected. Companies exhibiting include Artear, Claxson, Fox Latin America, MTV Networks Argentina, Televisa, Motorola, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera and MGM Network Latin America.

“We believe that it is an event which Telefe couldn’t miss,” said Daniel Otaola, head of sales at Argentine distributor Telefe International, a company that has been exhibiting at Jornadas since the early years of the conference, and will attend once again this year. “It gathers all the members of the industry. Also, the participation in this type of trade show is an important part of the commercial policy of Telefe in distributing channels in the pay-TV sector.”

Alejandro Bernal of Colombia’s Caracol Television concurred. “Jornadas is quite important to us because all cable companies will attend. It is a very good way to meet with systems from the Southern Cone, since it has a great presence from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and, to a certain extent, Peru. Jornadas is also a good opportunity to review the digital issues that concern the industry.” Finally, he concluded, “there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we want to be there.”

Jornadas 2006 will include a number of conferences, including “Jornadas Digital ATVC,” a two-day seminar full of hand-on reports about digital cable services, which will be held October 31 and November 1.

“We believe digitalization is extremely positive for the industry,” said Peter Weil, senior vice president of Content, Discovery Networks Latin America/Iberia, when asked his thoughts on the importance of such a seminar. “It gives viewers additional channel options, better quality and sound, and access to interactive television and services. Discovery Networks is at the vanguard of the industry’s digital revolution by offering content globally and locally. Our three digital channels — Discovery Turbo, Discovery Civilization and Discovery Science — are currently present in numerous countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Chile.”

Presentations will be made by executives from Motorola, TVC Latin America, Digital Cable World, BCD and Aurora Networks, which will also be exhibiting at the market.

Other conferences include one on programming, to be held on October 31, as well as one on regulatory issues on that same day.

“One of the focuses of Jornadas is the cycle of conferences dealing with topics of relevance to Argentina’s industry,” commented Walter Burzaco, president of the ATVC. “The conference will have renowned local and foreign speakers who will present their views on the social and economic impact of new technologies, analyze key issues like the industry regulatory issues, and discuss the role of the cable industry in the future of our Argentina.”

The ATVC Awards Dinner will take place the night of October 31. Prizes will be awarded to the best cable TV productions, with the intent of stimulating the production of more local programs.

Said Burzaco, “A public debate involving all the players in our industry is fundamental towards the development of digital convergence.”

VideoAge has two reporters at Jornadas, and a full report on the conference will be available in the November/December issue of VideoAge.