Talk radio programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina, like to parody Pope Francisco. Indeed, the Pope is not only a religious leader, but also a personality, and this was reflected in the 24th annual Jornadas de Cable (now Jornadas Internacionales or International Cable Days) conference and market, held at the Hilton Hotel, where programs about the Argentinean Pope abounded to promote various channels’ cable carriage.

But at almost U.S.$4 for a small cappuccino, the prices at the Hilton Hotel in the popular Puerto Madero area of Buenos Aires were not too far from those charged at the Palais in Cannes.

Nevertheless, attending Jornadas Internacionales 2014 was worthwhile, especially to salute the Asociación Argentina de Television por Cable’s 50th anniversary. ATVC organizes Jornadas together with CAPPSA, the Argentinean association of TV signal distributors.

In affect, Jornadas marries cable operators and signal (or content) distributors. Indeed, there were mostly signal distributors spanning the South Cone of Latin America including Telefe, Telearte and Claxson, but also distributors from the U.S. (like HBO, AMC, Disney and ESPN and FOX) and other parts of LATAM (such as Azteca and Televisa), Europe (France 24, Deutsche Welle and RTVE), Japan’s NHK and Russia’s RT. Missing among the Europeans were BBC and RAI. Also reduced was the presence of hardware manufacturers, that have been very prominent in past editions, thus establishing Jornadas mostly as a content event. These distributors use Jornadas to meet with cable, satellite and online operators, this year as far away as Peru. In addition, the event serves to find local companies that sell satellite dishes to receive channels in areas where the broadcast TV signal doesn’t reach (areas without repeaters) or that are not served by cable operators.

Officially, there were 23 conferences, 59 exhibitors and 4,000 total participants, however many more signal distributors (such as Artear and RAI Italia’s distributor, All TV) were in attendance without stands. The event is also a magnet for the LATAM TV trade press, which was present with some 10 publications. This in addition to international TV magazines such as VideoAge.

Security and streaming were some of the topics discussed, while ATVC’s official publication emphasized piracy as a major issue. Indeed, the author association, Argentores, promoted its Sin autor no hay obra (Without An Author You Don’t Have a Job) theme, while FOX LATAM pushed its Pirateria Cero 0 (Piracy Zero 0), with editorial and ads, La pirateria se roba lo major de tu negocio (Piracy Steals Most of Your Business).

One characteristic of the all Spanish-language Jornadas this time around was that the market became more lively on the second day of the three-day event that started September 17, just before the beginning of South America’s spring. The mood on the basement level of the Hilton Hotel was somber and business-oriented with little or no recreational activities on the schedule.

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