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CEA switches to Freeman, removes award program sponsor

Officials for the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) recently made a change to its International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) show by switching from General Exposition Services (GES) to Freeman as the show’s general services contractor and chose a new sponsor for its Best of Show award.

After more than 20 years as the show’s general contractor, GES lost its contract to Freeman, which has been the audio-visual services provider for the International CES since 2011. Show organizers reportedly were looking for a new direction when deciding to change to Freeman, and a new contract is to be hammered out by March.

While the International CES has a new general contractor, it also will have a new sponsor for its Best of Show awards program next year.


CNET is out as the International CES award program sponsor.

An apparent conflict of interest at first stripped The Hopper from consideration for the Best of Show award at the recent International CES in Las Vegas, but the CEA instead stripped the now former awards-program sponsor, CNET, of its responsibilities and gave The Hopper the Best of Show award along with Razer Edge, which is a tablet device designed for players of video games.

The Hopper is a digital-programming recording device capable of replaying television shows without commercials. Because shows can be replayed without their commercials, attorneys representing CBS have filed a lawsuit against The Hopper, which was to win recognition as the Best of Show. Instead, CNET, which is owned by CBS and contracted to produce the annual awards program for the International CES, revoked its consideration of The Hopper and gave the award to Razer Edge.

The decision by CNET officials reportedly was spurred by CBS, which allegedly did not want its legal foe to win the award. But officials for the CEA took exception to the actions of CNET and parent company CBS and named The Hopper co-winner of the Best of Show award and have announced they will seek a new awards-program sponsor for 2014 and beyond.

The 2014 International CES show is scheduled from Jan. 7-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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