Sunday, January 7, 2007 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Dispatch from CES: Scale and Perspective

[Note: A more substantive commentary from CES addressing mobile video services can be found on the IPCentral weblog.]

Anyone who has been to Vegas knows that they don't do anything small here. One example of that from the Consumer Electronics Show:

Sunday at CES is the day the exhibitors finish bolting together their displays while their booth babes squeeze in one last trip to the tanning salon. With no trade floor available to reporters, it's also a day a lot of press conferences are held. I decided to attend one this morning by a major TV manufacturer. I stepped out of the Sands press room and saw a line of reporters that extended the entire length of the hallway (several football fields) that connects the Sands Convention Center to the Venetian Hotel. The line, once reaching the Venetian, made a right turn and continued. For some reason I joined the queue.

After about 20 minutes, at least 500 reporters ahead of me had managed to get into the room. The 200 or so of us remaining were told there was no more capacity. The press aide also said he couldn't share the announcements happening in the room until the event was over.

One, I have never seen so many reporters in one place other than at a reporter's convention. Two, I have never seen reporters so complacently standing in line and then walking away when denied entry. Reporters at conventions are used to being in the power position and play up their petulance accordingly; usually the exhibitors need us more than we need them. Not the case apparently for major exhibitors at CES, due to how many reporters attend. Three, what does it say about our society's priorities that nearly 1,000 reporters feel the need to hear immediately about the latest high-definition TV, yet I've covered a half-dozen major U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments and never seen more than 50 reporters in attendance?

posted by Patrick Ross @ 6:20 PM | Generic Rant