The start of the 2018 edition of Argentina’s Jornadas Internacionales, the major cable and satellite TV trade show in the South Cone, will coincide with court proceedings stemming from the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the South American country, the impact of which is so great that it encompasses the cable TV business as well.

The 28th edition of Jornadas, otherwise known as the International Cable Television Days, will be held September 25-27 at the Hilton Buenos Aires. It’ll begin with conferences and, on September 26, will open its exhibition.

This year’s Jornadas will be unique because it will offer a new opportunity for event co-organizers — the Argentine Association of Cable Television (ATVC) and the Argentine Chamber of Producers and Programmers of Audiovisual Signals (CAPPSA) — to break with the old mold and instead focus exclusively on the interests of the cable TV sector and on the debate about the “new order” post scandal.

The two associations have confirmed five conferences related to the current environment. It is expected that some of these conferences will reflect the aforementioned scandal — which has a plot so intricate and so complicated that not even a Netflix scriptwriter could have penned it.

The embezzlement of public money — quantified at approximately U.S.$40 billion — involves the power marriage of Néstor (who died in 2010) and Cristina Kirchner, who both presided over the country during three periods (2003-2007, 2007-2011, and 2011-2015), as well as a large number of former ministers and former government officials.

There have also been incubators, in the sense that the two periods of President Carlos Menem in the previous decade created the environment that allowed for the current scandal.

Those five administrations have directly and indirectly impacted the cable-television and telecommunications sectors, but there still aren’t adequate regulations in place today to prevent such a failure from happening again. It was this lack of rules that fostered obsolescence, delayed spectrum re-allocation, and reduced investments.

The multiple cable, satellite, and telco offers (triple-, quadruple-, and quintuple-play) will now be difficult to implement due to the country’s difficult economic situation, which could be leading to losses of cable subscribers. High operating costs to upgrade infrastructures will also make any new developments rather unaffordable.

Observers who have witnessed the course of the Argentine cable TV industry in the last two decades now hope that this year’s Jornadas might serve to foster a frank discussion of the solutions to the problems caused by past corrupt practices.

The other opportunity presented by Jornadas is a chance to debate whether it makes sense to continue to support the current concept of cable television. The environment is changing with the emergence of multi-service operators, and the beginning of a new stage in the market is imminent. Cable operators are no longer just cable operators, but multiple services companies, providing cable TV, OTT, Internet, fixed telephony, and cellular telephony services. Conversely, those in the telephony and Internet sectors have become pay-TV providers.

On the exhibition side, all of LATAM’s main international channels will be exhibiting, including AMC Networks, Artear, Claxson, Deutsche Welle, Discovery Networks, Disney, ESPN, FOX Networks Group, HBO Latin America Group, France 24, TyC Sports, Telearte, Televisa, Turner, TV Azteca, Viacom/Telefe, ZEE Mundo, and Red Intercable. These are in addition to a slew of hardware companies.

(By Omar Mendez,  Editor in Chief of Daily Television)