The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Cable Sales Management Conference, headed to Chicago for the third time in its 10-year history, will have a sports-flavored theme, "Game Over/Game On."
That's fitting, since the event co-chair is ESPN vice president of affiliate ad sales and marketing Jeff Siegel. The "Game Over" reference is to broadcast, while "Game On" refers to cable, he noted.
Interestingly, in its tenth year, the CAB event (scheduled from May 18 to 20) has been renamed the Cable Sales Management Conference, dropping the "Local" reference in part to "reflect the growing presence and importance of national spot at our event," said CAB spokesman Steve Raddock.
Time Warner Cable president of ad sales Larry Fischer, also a co-chairman, interpreted that change as recognition that the local designation was "too limiting."
Fischer said Time Warner has set an internal sales meeting for the three days leading up to the CAB conference. Charter Communications Inc. vice president of ad sales Jim Heneghan said that his MSO also has slated a pre-CAB sales meeting.
Comcast Ad Sales senior vice president Hank Oster said his operation's monthly senior management meeting also will take place toward the end of the event.
All told, Comcast is sending 160 staffers to the CAB conference, which Raddock estimates will be attended by 1,000 — up 25% from last year.
The conference officially kicks off on May 19, with Comcast Corp. cable unit president Steve Burke delivering his keynote address, titled "Game On."
Others picking up on the sports theme: University of Tennessee Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt, with "It's a New Game," and an MSO ad sales chiefs panel, called "If It's a New Game, What Are the Rules?"
Another session will update "how cable programming and technological leadership is enhancing the buying of spot cable."
Day two opens with Discovery Networks U.S. president of ad sales Joe Abruzzese's keynote speech, "Why the Future Is Brightest in Cable."
Subsequent sessions will focus on automotive advertising, local cable ratings and on the selling of addressable, interactive and video-on-demand advertising.
Cox Communications Inc. vice president of new media development Debby Mullin, also due on a panel, is likely to update that MSO's "FreeZone" VOD ad test in San Diego.