The 27th year of the Jornadas’ exhibition in Argentina was advertised as a three-day event: September 19, 20 and 21, so it was surprising for participants entering the basement areas of the traditional venue at the Hilton Buenos Aires Hotel on Tuesday, the market’s official first day, to find the large hall in the midst of stand construction.

In effect, the South Cone’s premier cable TV networks conference and market, started on the next day and, in the process, it became a one-day market, since on Thursday the exodus began at 3 pm. Naturally, the rainy day did not help, either to make the last day shorter.

However, the contraction was the result of a mixed combination: A reflection of the status of the television business in Latin America in general, which is going through consolidation and financial hardship, and to the static xxx of the associations that organize it. To top it all, the Jornadas opened in the midst of one of Mexico’s deadliest earthquakes.

The evolution of Jornadas, as the Argentinian cable TV market days are called in Spanish, followed the development, growth and consolidation of the South American TV industry.

Originally referred to simply as Jornadas de Cable, today they’re called Jornadas Internacionales, and one of the two organizing associations, CaDiSSa—the national association of satellite TV signal distributors—has changed its name to CAPPSA. The other organizing association, the Argentine Cable TV Association (ATVC), has remained the same.

The former is the association for content providers, with a board made up of representatives from HBO, Turner, Disney-ESPN, Telefe, etc., and the latter is the association of cable TV operators.

This year, the exhibition portion featured 59 stands, of which 20 were from the content side of the business: a definite contraction of the market compared to previous year when the presence of content companies was more prominent. The stands were housed at the Pacifico Hall of the Hilton, with sizes varying from nine square meters to 18 square meters.

Naturally, the consolidation of Viacom with Telefe helped to reduce the number of exhibition stands. Also contracted were the number of participants, now reduced to an estimated 1,000 from a peak of over 5,000 a few years ago. As for the number of seminars, from 23 last year, it was reduced to 20.

One amusing aspect of this year’s event is that some stands, like that of Food Network and India’s Zee, were very ornate and original. Also surprising was the prominent presence of the Indian TV channel.