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Volume 24 No. 137
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Int'l Consumer Electronics Show Opens Up In Las Vegas After Selling Near-Record Space

The '12 Int'l Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas opens today poised to challenge or set event records, even amid an uneven economy. The show, produced by the Consumer Electronics Association, has sold more than 1.851 million square feet of event space to exhibitors, second only to the '08 CES which featured 1.857 million square feet of exhibits. Attendee pre-registrations are sharply above last year, suggesting that the audited attendance for the '11 event of 149,529 people could be surpassed. The bullish numbers are happening even as transformative product announcements appear to be light compared to prior years, some technology industry powers such as Apple no longer participate formally in CES, and others such as Microsoft have also recently said they plan to curtail their show involvement in future years. ESPN is involved in unprecedented fashion at this year's CES, staging its first-ever booth on the show floor and holding a number of high-profile events this week. The network held an invitation-only party for several hundred industry execs last night to watch the Allstate BCS National Championship game in 3D, while "SportsNation" will be filmed tomorrow from the show floor in 3D, marking the network's first studio show to be broadcast in the enhanced format. Thursday will bring the staging of five Top Rank Boxing matches from the CES show floor, also shown in 3D. ESPN Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Sean Bratches said, "We think 3D has delivered on our mission to serve the sports fan. We are putting the marketing might of ESPN behind 3D." THE DAILY takes a look at some other announcements yesterday from the CES Press Day.

LG: ESPN was involved here, too, as the consumer electronics giant said it has partnered with the network on its new smartphone, the Spectrum, that will feature HD-quality video on a mobile device, something the companies say is unprecedented in the industry. The Spectrum, due for release later this month, will also be sold preloaded with ESPN's popular ScoreCenter application.

MONSTER: The company, best known for its high-end audio equipment, announced a partnership with the Lance Armstrong Foundation in which iSport LiveStrong branded in-ear headphones will hit the market beginning next month. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts will be the target market for the product, and a portion of the sales will be reverted to the cancer-oriented foundation.

DURACELL POWERMAT: The joint venture of the two prominent battery companies announced a marketing deal in which it will become the official wireless charging partner of MSG, the Knicks, NHL Rangers and WNBA Liberty. The deal will place wireless mobile charging stations at various points throughout the arena, and Duracell Powermat receivers will be sold at MSG merchandise stands.

Clayton discusses company's change in its
consumer marketing during CES presentation

DISH NETWORK: In addition to announcing a multiplatform distribution deal with Univision, the satellite TV provider also unveiled a significant change in focus in its consumer marketing. Gone are the financially focused ads targeting pricing, and in its place will be an experience-focused message that also places brand names on some of its products, namely its high-end TV receivers. Foremost among them is the Hopper, a set-top box that can record up to six channels of TV simultaneously during primetime. The company will also drop "Network" from its consumer branding, focusing solely on "Dish." "Dish wants its products received more like the mobile phone industry," said Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton. "We want consumers to have a passion for our products, and refer to them by name."

SPORTS SIGHTINGS: As is always the case, sports celebrities and executives are widely present at CES. Haier, the NBA's official HDTV partner, will feature former players Robert Horry and John Salley. Basketball HOFer Dennis Rodman is slated to show Thursday in support of social messaging outfit Paltalk. ESPN will conduct an autograph signing with former MLBers and current broadcasters Terry Francona and Orel Hershiser. And execs speaking on various CES panels include ESPN VP/Strategic Business Planning & Development Bryan Burns, Pace/Cameron Group co-Chair Vince Pace, Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow and SI Group Creative Dir Chris Hercik.