Policy

Cable Ads Deliver: Postal Union Buys Flight on News Networks

10/17/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

When the American Postal Workers
Union (APWU) wanted to take its take on the U.S.
Postal Service’s current financial woes to the public,
the group figured neither rain, nor snow nor,
well, the other stuff , would stay their cable courier
from its appointed rounds.

The union decided to use national cable buys
to make its point, purchasing spots on CNN,
MSNBC and Fox News Channel for a two-month
flight.

Its point: The problem with
the system is a 2006 law that
“imposes a $5 billion annual
burden on the Postal Service
that no other agency or company
bears.”

The union’s goal is to drum
up public support for Democratbacked
legislation that would
lift that burden without cutting
pay or benefits to its members.

As opposed to a Republican
bill that would result in $2 billion
worth of post-office closures, cut
wages and benefits and allow for
layoff s, the union said.

Why a TV spot? “Because the
cause of the Postal Service’s current
financial crisis is frequently
misunderstood and misrepresented,” APWU
spokesperson Sally Davidow told The Wire.

Why cable? “A national cable buy was simply the
most efficient way for us to reach the largest possible
audience that includes postal-service employees,
policymakers, and opinion leaders,” she said.

Express Mail note to Cabletelevision Advertising
Bureau: You may want to add that quote to your
next PowerPoint.

Alan Gerry Says Wall Street
Protests Won’t Last Long

Cable billionaire Alan Gerry isn’t impressed with demonstrators
in New York who want
wealthy Americans to pay more
in taxes.

The Pocono Record newspaper
said Gerry spoke at a Pike County
(Pa.) Chamber of Commerce dinner
last Wednesday (Oct. 13) in
Matamoras, Pa., where he said
of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters:
“I didn’t see a lot of real
people out there. … I don’t think
you saw people who were out of
work on the street. It was people
collecting welfare checks and
frustrated trust fund babies.”

He acknowledged many people are “frustrated” and said,
“There are a lot of unfortunate people out there, but I don’t think
they are sitting out there on Wall Street,” the paper said. He
predicted the protests wouldn’t last long: “They will get tired of
sitting on their butt on the street. It’s going to get cold in a few
weeks.”

Gerry built Cablevision Industries from “a small television
sales and repair shop in Liberty, N.Y., to the eighth largest
cable company in the United States, before selling it to Time
Warner in 1996 for $2.7 billion,” the paper noted.

He also founded the Bethel Woods Center for the Performing
Arts in Bethel, N.Y., on the site of the Woodstock concert in 1969.
(He’s pictured above at the site in 2009.) Bethel Woods has generated
$20 million in sales tax to Sullivan County, according to
Gerry’s firm, the Record said.

Comcast Still Vetting
Potential Newcomers
For Diversity Slots

Diversity Week came and went (Oct. 10-14) without
a proclamation by Comcast regarding its choice to
launch two African-American owned-and-operated
networks and one Hispanic-themed, English-language
service beginning in 2012.

Observers watching the auction for this valuable TV
real estate had thought Comcast might time the first
announcement to come during the diversity-themed
gatherings, having had more than three months to vet
applicants.

Sources say Comcast has whittled down the list of
potential programming newcomers to five after receiving
more than 100 applications.

At this point, the 22.5-million-subscriber cable
operator is doing due diligence with regard to the
financial staying power of the potential programming
additions.

A decision could come by late October, according
to sources, although Comcast has said it is in the
“second phase of [its] evaluation process” and would
not lay out a timetable for any announcement.

Comcast said it would launch an English-language,
Hispanic-themed channel by July 28, 2012, and
two majority African-American-owned channels by
Jan. 28, 2013. Overall, Comcast has said it will launch
10 new independent channels over the next eight
years, including eight that are Hispanic and African-
American owned or operated. That is a commitment
Comcast made in connection with its deal for control
of NBCUniversal.


SCTE Thinks It’s
Better Off Alone
For Cable-Tec Expo

Cluster, schmuster.

Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers
president and CEO Mark Dzuban expects the fact that
its flagship Cable-Tec Expo confab next month in Atlanta
will occur independently of other industry events will
help drive attendance.

The two previous Cable-Tec Expos were co-located
with the CTAM Summit conference (this year redubbed
CTAM in New York), as part of the cable industry’s experiment
with weeklong spring and fall event clusters.

This year, “we’re on our own,” Dzuban noted, and he
expects that to provide a lift in attendance.

In 2012, Cable-Tec Expo will once more occur in
tandem with CTAM in Florida in Orlando, Fla. Then it’s
scheduled to be separate in 2013 in New Orleans and
in 2014 in Denver. Dzuban added that when the conference
takes place in the Mile High City, it won’t be
“during snow season” — a reference to the blizzard two
years ago that disrupted travel plans for Expo and CTAM
Summit attendees.

“We’ve worked with the NCTA and the community” on
event scheduling, Dzuban said. “We’re so big, I make
it clear to them — the venues that are satisfactory to
them aren’t necessarily satisfactory to us. SCTE needs
to be positioned so we’re not limited.”

So far, 2011 attendee registrations are in line with
last year’s levels, Dzuban said, noting that most signups
come in the four weeks leading up to the conference.
Cable-Tec Expo is set to run Nov. 15-17 at Atlanta’s
Georgia World Congress Center.

Through the end of September, SCTE had sold more
than 95% of 109,200 square feet of exhibition space,
booking 346 exhibitors for the show. Last year’s show
in New Orleans
had 380 exhibiting
companies
and organizations.
As such,
SCTE has collaborated
more
closely with MSO
executives, and
Dzuban gave a
shout-out to the efforts of this year’s conference chairman,
Suddenlink Communications chief technology officer Terry Cordova.

One big focus for 2011 was to increase the amount
of educational programming. This year’s Cable-Tec Expo
features 40 sessions, up from 15 last year. “SCTE has
to be a problem solver … presenting technological
solutions to the industry on how we operate better and
smarter,” Dzuban said.

Dzuban also pointed out a hidden code in the Cable-
Tec Expo ’11 logo: It includes a line graph that spells
out “SCTE” in Morse code. “We’re giving out decoder
rings this year,” he said with a chuckle.

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