Cable Organizations CTAM, ACC To Combine

Marketing association to absorb 31-year-old communicators' group

The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and the Association of Cable Communicators (ACC), the cable industry’s top business and professional organizations representing marketing and communications, have agreed in principle to combine under CTAM as both groups adapt to consolidation of big companies within the industry.

Leaders of both organizations said marketing and communications fit well together and that CTAM would take steps, including setting up a communications steering council and adding communications executives to the CTAM board of directors, to ensure that communicating with the public is not rolled up completely into marketing. CTAM CEO Vicki Lins said the groups "share a deep commitment to harnessing the power of integrated marketing and communications and telling the industry’s consumer-centric story."

“It’s critical for CTAM to reflect what’s happening inside our companies, where marketing, branding, communications and public relations functions are aligning and harmonizing for success in the competitive marketplace,” Mark Greatrex, chair of the CTAM board of directors, and EVP, chief marketing and sales officer at Cox Communications, said in a statement. “This unification gets us much closer to marshalling the power of a unified voice to break through with our industry’s consumer-centric story of value and innovation."

ACC executive director Steve Jones said he would not be joining the combined organization. 

ACC members, senior board leadership and key programs will be incorporated into CTAM’s collaborative initiatives, awards recognition and education opportunities. CTAM's Lins said the ACC's longstanding Beacon Awards for public-affairs campaigns is a brand with "a lot of equity" and "there is a high level of interest in figuring out how to leverage that equity" going forward. An ACC executive education program tied to the Newhouse School of Communications also will be continued, Lins said.  

In the combined statement, Lins said: “CTAM’s ability to accomplish its strategic goals will be enhanced by the participation of this group of accomplished communications and PR professionals who are among the finest thought leaders and subject matter experts in our business. Their engagement in CTAM initiatives will lead to greater achievement in our work to drive collective impact in the marketplace, market and communicate best-in-class consumer experiences, and raise the image of the industry brand.”   

For ACC, board president Catherine Frymark, SVP of corporate communications at Discovery Communications, said in the release: “While both organizations have been highly regarded for decades of individual accomplishments, we’ll be stronger together; providing greater member value, professional development resources and programs, and overall impact beyond what we’re able to achieve separately. This is an exciting step forward that recognizes and capitalizes on the current marketplace environment, building a collective to support the industry in even more comprehensive ways.” 

Both organizations' boards unanimously approved the combination in principle; a final agreement is expected by the end of the year. 

CTAM has about 82 company members. ACC -- founded in 1985 and renamed from CTPAA, the Cable Television Public Affairs Association, in 2006 -- has individual (not company) members and the two organizations have significant overlap in members, CTAM said. 

The ranks of both organizations have been hit hard by consolidation in cable, particularly among big cable operators. People close to the organizations said ACC's interest in combining the groups accelerated after the most recent ACC Forum in New York City in June.