Salt Lake City -- Although they did not look back fondly at last year, a
panel of five local sales executives told their audience at the Cabletelevision
Advertising Bureau's Local Cable Sales Management Conference here Monday
afternoon some positives emerged from the wreckage.
Moderator Pat Ivers, vice president and general manager of ad sales for
AT&T Media Services in Denver, asked the panelists for one word that best
summed up 2001. He himself chose, 'Character-building.'
Pam Barratta, VP and GM of the Comcast MarketLink Washington, D.C.,
interconnect, said, 'Terrifying.' VP/GM Neil Harwell of Time Warner Cable,
Kansas City uttered, 'Pain,' while Maurren O'Hanlon, VP and GM of AT&T Media
Services in Seattle, chose, 'Experienced.'
For his part, Charter Media VP of ad sales, Midwest region Paul Sly sparked
applause when he said, 'Bitch!'
Sly added, '2001 was a learning experience from many aspects.' For one thing,
after having long stressed the importance of getting close to the client, he
said, 'Without question, we lived that last year.'
O'Hanlon said some hitherto-reluctant clients listened to cable pitches.
Barratta pointed out that that trying year 'forced us to go back and look at our
The executives concurred that they have come through a dismal year to post
sales upticks thus far in 2002. Noting that his company learned to better
compete, Harwell said, 'Right now, we're on a pretty good upswing' -- up 30
percent. 'We are much stronger in our core competencies.'
O'Hanlon said, 'We held our rates to the best of our abilities' while
competing broadcasters cut theirs, and that has proved to be 'a great silver
lining' this year.
During a subsequent session, Turner Network Sales VP of local ad sales Jerry
Ware stressed the importance of pursuing nontraditional ad revenues, notably
vendor dollars that manufacturers make available to their retailers.
Revenue Development Systems GM Elaine Clark said the most promising
categories for such nontraditional dollars range from water marketers and
cosmetics (including Botox) to automotive and automotive